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EquitAble and the EquiFrame manual EquiFrame : A Framework for the Analysis of Human Rights and Vulnerable Groups in Health Policies . Prof. Malcolm MacLachlan

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EquitAble and the EquiFrame manualEquiFrame: A Framework for the Analysis of Human Rights and Vulnerable Groups in Health Policies

Prof. Malcolm MacLachlan

Equitable Project Manager

Dr. HasheemMannan

Equitable senior research fellow

Ms. Joanne mcveigh

Equitable researcher


How Can a University Change the World?

The Power of ideas can transform the ideas of Power

Frenk, 1995

EquitAble and the EquiFramemanual

Policies should be written for all but should be sensitive to different types of need

To promote Health for All, focus on equitable health care rather than equal health care

Marginalized, discriminated groups bear a disproportionate share of health problems

States must recognize specific needs of groups that confront particular challenges through disaggregation of health policies

project equitable
Project EquitAble
  • FP7 funded, 4-year collaborative research project; researchers
  • from Ireland, Norway, Sudan, Namibia, Malawi & South Africa
  • Led by Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin
  • Produce empirical knowledge on health care access for vulnerable
  • people in resource poor settings in Africa
  • 5 Work Packages:
  • Novel policy analytical framework; assesses human rights and social inclusion in health policies
  • Assesses policy content or ‘policy on the books’
  • Identifies degree of commitment of a health policy to 21 Core Concepts of human rights and 12 Vulnerable Groups, underpinned by ethos of universal, equitable and accessible health service provision
  • Particular focus on persons with disabilities (outlined in EquiFrameas a vulnerable group)
  • 70 health policies analyzed in total
  • 4 target countries: Sudan, Malawi, Namibia, & South Africa: 51 health policies
  • Prevailing focus on process of health policy development; A paucity of literature that outlines an analytical framework to analyze ‘policy on the books’
  • Many health policy practices developed and researched in higher income countries and subsequently transferred to low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries; Variability of context makes generalization problematic
  • EquiFrame: A framework to guide policy analysis in terms of ‘policy on the books’ and doing so from a LMIC perspective
country profiles
Country Profiles

Sudan– Large proportion of population displaced

Malawi– Chronic poverty and high disease burden compete for meagre resources

Namibia– Population highly dispersed

South Africa – Despite relative wealth, universal and equitable access to health care not yet attained



Draft Framework

Literature Searches/ Discussions

Initial Ideas

Project Meeting Khartoum

Conference Presentations

Universal, Equitable, Accessible Health Services


Consultation Workshops

Revised Framework


Analysis of 70 Health Policies

Feedback workshops

core concepts
Core Concepts

1.Non-discrimination 12.Contribution

2.Individualized services 13.Family resource

3.Entitlement 14.Family support

4.Capability based services 15.Cultural responsiveness

5.Participation 16.Accountability

6.Coordination of services 17.Prevention

7.Protection from harm 18.Capacity building

8.Liberty 19.Access

9.Autonomy 20.Quality

10.Privacy 21.Efficiency


core concept quality
Core Concept Quality

Each Core Concept received a rating of quality of commitment to Core Concept within the given policy document

Score on continuum of 1-4:


Concept only mentioned


Concept mentioned and explained


Specific policy actions identified to address Concept


Intention to monitor Concept expressed

common health policies
Common Health Policies

EquiFrame: can provide both within and across country comparative analysis of health policies in terms of Core Concepts of human rights and inclusion of Vulnerable Groups

equiframe findings
EquiFrame Findings

51 policies analyzed across Namibia, Sudan, South Africa & Malawi:

  • Most frequently mentioned Vulnerable Groups across Disability, TB, HIV/AIDS policies: Disabled persons, Suffering from chronic illness, and Youth

internal validity of EquiFrame methodology

  • All Core Concepts mentioned in at least one policy analyzed across project countries construct validity of categories used
  • 4 countries had policies scored High, Moderate and Low; each country differed in proportion of policies falling in each range
  • Some very strong policies, serious shortcomings in others & country-specific patterns
  • Health sectors of each of these states face significant challenges in addressing inequities found to be present within a number of current African health policies
project equitable strategic impact
Project EquitAble Strategic Impact
  • Provide better understanding of universal access to health care and provide an invaluable resource for health systems and policy decision makers working to meet universal access to health care, by setting out clear evidence base for proposed actions
  • First known study to address this wide a range of vulnerability factors within a single data-gathering model

Measuring disability in context of other vulnerability factors may assist in disability mainstreaming in public health planning/delivery, and in appreciating that disability frequently interacts with other marginalizing factors to doubly disadvantage people with activity limitations

  • Collect data from contexts where we have little information

Useful for health care systems and disability sectors in Africa & EU aid programmes for developing countries

Extensive gap in access to health care between disparate groups in low as well as high-income countries well established

Equity in health care is an astute and feasible political aspiration

If human rights and social inclusion do not underpin policy formation, it is unlikely that they will be inculcated in service delivery

Through its discernment of policy commitment to human rights and vulnerable groups, EquiFrame, devised under Project EquitAble, stands to promote the United Nations directive of ‘health for all’, with its implicit assumption of universal and equitable access to health care.

There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people

Thomas Jefferson


Project website:

Manual: Freely downloadable peer reviewed

EquiFramemanual, available on project website

Papers currently in press:

Amin et al. (2011). EquiFrame: a framework for

analysis of the inclusion of human rights and

vulnerable groups in health policies. Health &

Human Rights (in press).

Mannan et al. (2011). Core Concepts of human

rights and inclusion of vulnerable groups in the

disability and rehabilitation policies of Malawi,

Namibia, Sudan and South Africa. Journal of

Disability Policy Studies (in press).