Equity

The World Health Organization defines equity as the absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people.

The concept acknowledges that not only are differences in health status unfair and unjust, but they are also the result of differential access to the resources necessary for people to lead healthy lives.

Progress in health equity

Some gains have been made towards health equity (for example, immunisation rates for Māori children have improved so much they are now equal to or better than non-Māori rates in much of the country). However, more work needs to be done to achieve health equity for Māori and for all New Zealanders. This work includes collaborating across sectors to make progress towards this goal.

Māori life expectancy is considerably lower than that for non-Māori. Overall mortality rates are also higher for Māori than for non-Māori at nearly all ages. Māori health status remains unequal with non-Māori across almost all chronic and infectious diseases as well as injuries, including suicide.

See New Zealand Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study, 2006–2016 for more information.

Ongoing work

Over the next 10 years, the health system will work towards pae ora to support the achievement of health equity. This work includes:

  • continuing to develop good-quality ethnicity data to measure and report on health status
  • continuing to build the evidence to inform the knowledge base for Māori health
  • working outside the health and disability sector from time to time.

Equity in practice

Improving access to GPs through telehealth

Residents of Matakana Island in the Bay of Plenty have improved access to health care thanks to a new telehealth service on the Island.

‘You can start things and follow up locally.’

It’s a great example of Māori health providers, the community, and others working together to provide more accessible health care and address some of the known barriers in achieving greater equity in health outcomes. Read more

More information

Equity of Health Care for Māori: A framework
This framework guides health practitioners, health organisations and the health system to achieve equitable health care for Māori through leadership, knowledge and commitment.

Roadmap to Reduce Disparities
A US guide for health care organisations to improve minority health and foster equity, which includes a 6-step framework for incorporating disparities-reduction into quality improvement processes.

The cost of child health inequalities in Aotearoa New Zealand: a preliminary scoping study
This study explores the economic cost of health inequalities between Māori and non-Māori children.  

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