Achieving the new global health targets – Lancet: Choosing indicators for the health-related SDG targets

This paper in The Lancet is a reminder that indicators for the health-related SDGs have not yet been agreed. Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics notes that ‘the indicators chosen for each Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target will probably determine the amount of action and attention each target receives’.

Christopher J L Murray. Choosing indicators for the health-related SDG targets. The Lancet, Vol. 386, October 3, 2015

http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(15)00382-7.pdf

‘In the era of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), regular reporting of specific health indicators drew public and policy attention, and ultimately resources, to causes such as maternal and child health. On the basis of the lessons learned from the MDGs, the indicators chosen for each Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target will probably determine the amount of action and attention each target receives. Shortening the long lists of proposed indicators for various targets will be a challenging task; for good reasons, advocacy groups will want their component of the target reflected in the selected indicator.’

SELECTED EXTRACTS (selected by Neil PW)

‘What basic properties should be fulfilled by the high-level indicators for the health-related SDGs? First, the indicators should not only measure the intended effect of a target but should also be important for population… Second, any indicator should be easily interpreted and communicated… The meaning and value of

the indicator should also be clear to the public, decision makers, and the scientific community. Third, it should be affordable to produce valid, timely, local, and comparable measurements of an indicator. Fourth, wherever possible and relevant indicators should be disaggregated…’

‘The table [see article] shows a list of the health-related SDG targets and the indicators that I propose for them.’

[for example, against Target 3.4 ‘Achieve universal health coverage…’, Chris Murray recommends ‘(a) % of households with catastrophic health

expenditures in a year; and (b) % of the population with effective coverage of a package of basic health care’]

‘Irrespective of the indicators selected for the health-related SDGs, monitoring the indicators will benefit from publicly available data, pluralistic data synthesis and analysis, and vigorous public debate about the findings.’

Best wishes, Neil

Let’s build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare knowledge – Join HIFA: www.hifa2015.org  

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