Equity in health

Equity in health:

Equity means fairness. Equity in health means that people’s needs guide the distribution of opportunities for well-being.

Reference: Equity in health and health care. WHO, Geneva, 1996

The WHO global strategy of achieving Health for All is fundamentally directed towards achieving greater equity in health between and within populations, and between countries. This implies that all people have an equal opportunity to develop and maintain their health, through fair and just access to resources for health. Equity in health is not the same as equality in health status. Inequalities in health status between individuals and populations are inevitable consequences of genetic differences, of different social and economic conditions, or a result of personal lifestyle choices. Inequities occur as a consequence of differences in opportunity which result, for example in unequal access to health services, to nutritious food, adequate housing and so on. In such cases, inequalities in health status arise as a consequence of inequities in opportunities in life.

Source: Health Promotion Glossary (1998), WHO/HPR/HEP/98.1