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Background: Health inequalities are ubiquitous, and as countries seek to expand service coverage, they are at risk of exacerbating existing inequalities unless they adopt equity-focused approaches to service delivery. Main text: Our team has developed an equity-focused continuous improvement model that reconciles prioritisation of disadvantaged groups with the expansion of service coverage. Our new approach is based on the foundations of routinely collecting sociodemographic data; identifying left-behind groups; engaging with these service users to elicit barriers and potential solutions; and then rigorously testing these solutions with pragmatic, embedded trials. This paper presents the rationale for the model, a holistic overview of how the different elements fit together, and potential applications. Future work will present findings as the model is operationalised in eye-health programmes in Botswana, India, Kenya, and Nepal. Conclusion: There is a real paucity of approaches for operationalising equity. By bringing a series of steps together that force programme managers to focus on groups that are being left behind, we present a model that can be used in any service delivery setting to build equity into routine practice.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal for Equity in Health

Publication Date