Int J Equity Health 21 (1) 83 [2022-06-14; online 2022-06-14]
The Every Woman Every Child Latin America and the Caribbean (EWEC-LAC) initiative was established in 2017 as a regional inter-agency mechanism. EWEC-LAC coordinates the regional implementation of the Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), including adaptation to region specific needs, to end preventable deaths, ensure health and well-being and expand enabling environments for the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents. To advance the equitable achievement of these objectives, EWEC-LAC's three working groups collectively support LAC countries in measuring and monitoring social inequalities in health, advocating for their reduction, and designing and implementing equity-oriented strategies, policies and interventions. This support for data-driven advocacy, capacity building, and policy and program solutions toward closing current gaps ensures that no one is left behind. Members of EWEC-LAC include PAHO, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN WOMEN, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, USAID, LAC Regional Neonatal Alliance, and the LAC Regional Task Force for the Reduction of Maternal Mortality. To date, EWEC-LAC has developed and collected innovative tools and resources and begun to engage with countries to utilize them to reduce equity gaps. These resources include a framework for the measurement of social inequalities in health, data use and advocacy tools including a data dashboard to visualize trends in social inequalities in health in LAC countries, a methodology for setting targets for the reduction of inequalities, and a compendium of tools, instruments and methods to identify and address social inequalities in health. EWEC-LAC has also engaged regionally to emphasize the importance of recognizing these inequalities at social and political levels, and advocated for the reduction of these gaps. Attention to closing health equity gaps is ever more critical in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic which has exploited existing vulnerabilities. More equitable health systems will be better prepared to confront future health shocks.