Amit Prasad, Ana Maria Mahecha Groot, Teofilo Monteiro, Kelly Murphy, Patricia O’Campo, Emilia Estivalet Broide, and Megumi Kano
Rev Panam Salud Publica: 2013;34(6) 407-15
Published online: 2013
Abstract / Resumen: Objective. To evaluate the experience of select cities in the Americas using the Urban Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool (Urban HEART) launched by the World Health Organization in 2010 and to determine its utility in supporting government efforts to improve health equity using the social determinants of health (SDH) approach. Methods. The Urban HEART experience was evaluated in four cities from 2010–2013: Guarulhos (Brazil), Toronto (Canada), and Bogotá and Medellín (Colombia). Reports were submitted by Urban HEART teams in each city and supplemented by first-hand accounts of key informants. The analysis considered each city’s networks and the resources it used to implement Urban HEART; the process by which each city identified equity gaps and prioritized interventions; and finally, the facilitators and barriers encountered, along with next steps. Results. In three cities, local governments spearheaded the process, while in the fourth (Toronto), academia initiated and led the process. All cities used Urban HEART as a platform to engage multiple stakeholders. Urban HEART’s Matrix and Monitor were used to identify equity gaps within cities. While Bogotá and Medellín prioritized among existing interventions, Guarulhos adopted new interventions focused on deprived districts. Actions were taken on intermediate determinants, e.g., health systems access, and structural SDH, e.g., unemployment and human rights. Conclusions. Urban HEART provides local governments with a simple and systematic method for assessing and responding to health inequity. Through the SDH approach, the tool has provided a platform for intersectoral action and community involvement. While some areas of guidance could be strengthened, Urban HEART is a useful tool for directing local action on health inequities, and should be scaled up within the Region of the Americas, building upon current experience.
Keywords / Palabras clave: Urban health; equity in health; social policy; social medicine; health planning, methods; Brazil; Canada; Colombia; Americas