Health equity during the pandemic recovery period: updated knowlege syntheses, policy tracking and health outcome monitoring
Health equity, or fairness in health outcomes, was prominently mentioned during the pandemic. Racialized people, women, people with a low income, people experiencing homelessness, people who use substances and people who are incarcerated were disproportionately affected during the pandemic. Disparities in who was getting and being killed by Covid-19, and who was getting vaccinated were widely reported in national media and in national reports such as from the Public Health Agency of Canada. There was also some attention to the disproportionate effect of pandemic related restrictions on people experiencing disadvantages. Interventions and policy changes that can address the inequities exposed during the pandemic have been well studied and described. These policy changes include changes to governmental income supports (ex. a basic income, paid sick leave), housing policies (eviction prevention, permanent supportive housing), supports for victims of intimate partner violence, supports for children (e.g. access to childcare, healthy food distribution), access to preventative health care (e.g. HIV screening), and comprehensive changes to address racism. We will attempt to translate the recent attention to inequities into lasting improvements including policy changes and clinical practice changes. Our three objectives are to: (1) support the implementation of policy and practice changes that promote health equity by maintaining up-to-date knowledge syntheses (including recommendations) for interventions that can promote health equity, (2) monitor the implementation of policy and practice changes aimed at promoting health equity, (3) measure disparities in actual health outcomes that are sentinel indicators for the effects of the policy and clinical practice changes identified. We will exchange knowledge with decision makers and other stakeholders.