Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
SCHNEIDER, Maria Cristina et al. Methods for measuring inequalities in health. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2002, vol.12, n.6, pp. 398-414. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892002001200006.
ABSTRACT Measuring health inequalities is indispensable for progress in improving the health situation in the Region of the Americas, where the analysis of average values is no longer sufficient. Analyzing health inequalities is a fundamental tool for action that seeks greater equity in health. There are various measurement methods, with differing levels of complexity, and choosing one rather than another depends on the objective of the study. The purpose of this article is to familiarize health professionals and decision-making institutions with methodological aspects of the measurement and simple analysis of health inequalities, utilizing basic data that are regularly reported by geopolitical unit. The calculation method and the advantages and disadvantages of the following indicators are presented: the rate ratio and the rate difference, the effect index, the population attributable risk, the index of dissimilarity, the slope index of inequality and the relative index of inequality, the Gini coefficient, and the concentration index. The methods presented are applicable to measuring various types of inequalities and at different levels of analysis.
Keywords : Métodos; desigualdades de salud; indicadores.