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Inequalities Relating to Health & the Life Course Disability, Mental Illness & Older Age


Inequalities Relating to Health & the Life Course Disability, Mental Illness & Older Age

by Emma Samman and Laura Rodriguez-Takeuchi, ODI

November, 2012

Abstract: Issues related to early childhood feature prominently in the MDG framework (as do malnutrition, HIV status and malaria), and data collection in these areas is fairly advanced. Other sources of inequality are notable by their virtual absence – among these, older age, disability and mental illness, although these issues each appear to affect sizeable numbers of particularly vulnerable people throughout the world. A clear obstacle to ‘mainstreaming’ these sources of inequality in a new post-2015 agreement is the widespread lack of nationally representative internationally comparable data. This could arise from definitional or technical issues (what to measure and/or how), operational issues (e.g., resource or capacity constraints), attitudinal issues (relating to stigma) and/or lack of demand from data users. Greater attention is needed to explore these constraints and how they might be overcome. To this end, this paper discusses currently available data and its limitations, constraints to better data collection and efforts needed to adjust key international survey instruments – the World Bank’s Core Welfare Indicator Questionnaire (CWIQ) and Living Standards and Measurement Survey (LSMS), Macro International’s Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) – to collect reliable data on these sources of inequality, alongside other household indicators.