Special Issue of the International Journal for Equity in Health on COVID-19 and inequality


A webinar to launch this special issue will be held on 14 February 2023, 13:00-14:30 CET.

Register for the webinar here.

COVID-19 has revealed the depth and breadth of health inequities, both within and across countries. Data gathered throughout the course of the pandemic has been instructive – not just about groups left behind, but also about how data itself can be marshalled
and made granular enough to ensure attention is paid to core equity dimensions of pandemic preparedness and management, such as population differences in exposure risk, testing and vaccination access.

Published in the International Journal for Equity in Health, this special issue on COVID-19 and inequalities emphases the analyses, tools and initiatives of the World Health Organization that enable finer grained analysis of key measurable inequalities
related to COVID-19 and efforts to reduce them.

The issue includes eight articles spanning various topics and domains from immunization to testing, as well as information about software and databases that heighten our analytic abilities in the context of COVID19 and its impacts. The content will be
of interest to researchers, analysts and policymakers interested in monitoring health inequalities, pandemic response and preparedness, and social determinants of health to ensure no one is left behind on the path to the the Sustainable Development
Goals and WHO’s Triple Billion targets.

Papers include

  • An editorial that describes the motivation behind the special issue, all the contributions, and some of the insights they offer;
  • A paper describing WHO’s COVID-19 surveillance database and the potential it offers for disaggregated analyses;
  • A research paper on financial hardship associated with COVID-19 testing focusing on age-related inequalities;
  • A software paper describing the features of the latest version of WHO’s Health Equity Assessment Toolkit, open-source software that enables the computation of summary measures of inequalities
  • A research paper on education-related inequalities in COVID 19 prevention and testing across 90 countries, with comparisons across country income groups
  • A research paper on COVID-19 vaccination globally, comparing health worker coverage to that in the general population
  • A commentary on the intersection of COVID-19 and disability, highlighting the differences in risk of severe disease, service utilisation experiences and barriers and a call to action to make sure efforts are truly inclusive of persons with disability
  • A Note from the Field contribution that presents initial insights and analysis from a Special Initiative of the WHO on the Social Determinants of Health, which took root at the height of the pandemic across three regions as well as six pathfinder
    countries and territories

Webinar agenda

Welcome: Stephen Mac Feely, Director, Department of Data and Analytics, WHO

About the special issue: Authors of the Special Supplement, including Lead Editor Ahmad Reza Hosseinpoor, Health Inequality Monitoring, Department of Data and Analytics, WHO

Open session for questions: Moderated by Devaki Nambiar, Health Inequality Monitoring, Department of Data and Analytics, WHO


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