Measuring improvements in health-care access and quality

12 June, 2018

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Below are extracts from an editorial in The Lancet. Full text here (OA):

CITATION: Going further to measure improvements in health-care access and quality

Svetlana V Doubova, Ricardo Pérez-Cuevas

Published: 23 May 2018


The use of comprehensive and meaningful summary metrics to track the performance of health systems worldwide in achieving universal health coverage, including access to high-quality health care, is ongoing. At least two summary metrics are available: the service coverage index, which includes a set of 14 essential health services, and the Healthcare Access and Quality (HAQ) Index, which focuses on amenable premature mortality of 32 causes of death (ie, death from causes that should not be fatal in the presence of effective medical care).

In The Lancet, Rafael Lozano and colleagues [] have gone into greater depth on the topic of health-care access and quality than have previous studies of the HAQ Index...

The study by Lozano and colleagues provides a comprehensive measure of the progress and the magnitude of the gaps among and within countries to provide accessible, high-quality health care...

The study by Lozano and colleagues confirms the notion that health systems must reinforce their capacity to strengthen governance of quality of care, facilitate innovative models of health care that provide continuous and coordinated care, and encourage training programmes for health professionals on evidence-based and patient-centred care...


Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 18,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on five global forums in three languages. He also currently chairs the Dgroups Foundation (, which supports 800 communities of practice on international development, health and social justice. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: neil AT