Equity Gauge (Archived)
In a time of scarce resources, difficult choices must be made on how and where those resources will be distributed.
Equity means fair shares and fair opportunities in the distribution and access of resources and provision of services. Equity does not mean equal shares or equal opportunities. Instead it implies that greater resources – financial, human, supplies, buildings, and infrastructure - are distributed and made available to the most vulnerable and needy groups in society.
Health Systems Trust (HST) established the South African Equity Gauge project in 1999 to work in partnership with legislators in promoting equitable health and health care in the country. It does this by:
- Actively monitoring equity in health and health care
- Providing equity oriented information to legislators
- Analysing health policy especially with regard to budgeting and resource allocation
- Strengthening the accessibility and quality of health data
- Helping disadvantaged communities use information to advocate for improvements in equity and the meeting of their health needs
- Notifying legislators, local councillors and service providers of needs identified by their communities
What is an Equity Gauge?
An Equity Gauge actively monitors and addresses inequity in health and health care. Rather than simply describing or passively monitoring selected indicators, the Gauge seeks to develop a set of concrete actions. These actions are designed to lead to real and sustained change in moving towards equity. Since many of these indicators and actions cut across many different sectors, it is not a typical health research project and is not limited to actions in the public health domain.
The South African Equity Gauge project is built on the three-pillar model. The three pillars are equally important and consist of:
- Research and monitoring - This pillar measures and describes inequities in health care using a specific set of indicators
- Advocacy and public participation - This pillar promotes the use of information by different groups, all of whom are working towards the same goal: equity in health care
- Community empowerment - This pillar strives to get communities into a position where they can enact change themselves rather than remain passive observers.
To that end, the South African Equity Gauge is not merely a measurement of equity in the country but is a set of actions and initiatives to facilitate equity.
Each of the three pillars can be incorporated at any time and do not follow a linear process.