Recent health equity-focused work under The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) Program

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Data for Impact (D4I) held the first webinar in a series focusing on health equity in global health monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) on September 29, 2022, at 9am EDT.

Health equity is achieved when everyone has a fair opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. This requires development approaches that are responsive to differences in peoples’ experiences based on gender, race, socioeconomic status, and other factors. MEL plays a critical role in fostering equitable global health programs and policies. High-quality data can help stakeholders better understand current health inequities, promote equity-sensitive program approaches, measure progress towards equity, support accountability for equity, and raise awareness about actions that affect health equity.

This webinar featured two staff members—Shireen Assaf and Jeff Edmeades—from The DHS Program. They presented two DHS studies that discuss inequalities in child health indicators and access to and use of digital resources.

Watch the webinar, and see a description for each presentation below.

Urban poverty and child health indicators (Shireen Assaf)

This report examines within urban disparities in several child health indicators including place of delivery, food and liquids given during diarrhea, vaccination, breastfeeding timing after birth, and nutrition. Within urban disparities were measured using a UN-HABITAT definition to define urban poor and urban non-poor areas. Six countries from sub-Saharan Africa were used in the analysis including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. The analyses show large disparities between urban poor and urban non-poor for several child health indicators, with significant differences found for health facility delivery across all countries and for underweight in five out of the six countries. The results highlight the need for targeted urban programs and continued investments in infrastructure to address within urban disparities and ensure equitable access to health services and resources for all urban dwellers.

Gender digital divide (Jeff Edmeades)

Information and communication technologies (ICT) have become an integral part of people’s lives in most parts of the world and have tremendous potential for improving health outcomes. However, there is a persistent ‘gender gap’ in access and use of digital technologies, with women lagging behind men. In terms of health, this may mean that women have less access to information and health services, though the evidence for this is mixed. In this study, we document the gender digital divide across 23 countries and then explore how access to and use of digital resources is related to a range of health outcomes for both women and men.