Health Equity Assessment Toolkit (HEAT): Software for exploring and comparing health inequalities

The World Health Organization


Equity is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In pledging to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), countries have committed themselves to leave no one behind.

Health inequality monitoring is critical to understand who is being left behind as it can identify differences in health between different population subgroups. This is essential for the development of equity-oriented interventions, especially those on the path to universal health coverage. Health inequality monitoring can thus serve as the basis for the design and re-orientation of rights-based, gender-responsive and equitable health systems.

To build and strengthen the capacity of countries to undertake health inequality monitoring, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed the Health Equity Assessment Toolkit (HEAT). HEAT is a software application that enables users to explore the state of health inequality in one country of interest and compare the situation in that country with the situation in other countries. Health inequalities can be assessed using disaggregated data and summary measures that are visualized in an interactive and customisable way. Results can be exported and used for priority-setting and decision-making in countries.

The Built-in Database Edition of HEAT contains the WHO Health Equity Monitor database with data on currently more than 30 reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health indicators, disaggregated by five dimensions of inequality from Demographic and Health Surveys and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys conducted in 94 countries between 1993 and 2013. This edition is available as an online application and as a standalone package for use offline through the WHO website.

The Upload Database Edition of HEAT is currently under development and will allow users to upload and work with their own database.

To access the toolkit: click here.

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