In 2015 the United Nations and the rest of the international community committed themselves to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Agenda 2030. The said agenda aimed to significantly improve progress towards achieving the 17 agreed SDGs, ranging from reducing poverty and eradicating hunger to improving the environment and institutions across the globe. Needless to say, health (through the SDG3) is at the core of the Agenda 2030. The various targets and indicators within SDG3 aim to improve the overall health outcomes, from reducing child and maternal mortality, to reducing deaths due to consumption of demerit goods (e.g. tobacco and alcohol). Achieving SDG3 also entails acknowledging the interconnectedness and the spill-over effects arising from the rest of the development goals. For example, education (SDG4) is considered as one of the key determinants of health outcomes; while access to clean water and sanitation (SDG6) significantly contributes to reduction in child mortality. Needless to say, progress in achieving, in particular SDG3, has been uneven both, across and within countries, further amplifying the existing health inequalities, both in terms of access to healthcare as well as health outcomes. Against this background, the IJEH is launching a Collection devoted to articles that will shed further light onto some of the inequities in health that exist across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. MENA is a particularly interesting region to study the concept of health inequity as it includes countries at various level of economic development: low income, lower and upper middle income as well as high income countries. Moreover, the region encompasses countries that have emerged, are emerging from or have been significantly affected by conflict, which, doubtless, has an impact on health outcomes. Finally, the region provides ample space for studying the concept of health inequalities through the anthropological lens of gender inequality. This Collection is looking for theoretical, review, and empirical submissions that critically study health system inequality through an interdisciplinary perspective, or focuses on inequalities from the perspective of epidemiology, health economics, health policy, or that applies social science disciplines and methods. Specific areas of interest might include but are not limited to:
(i) Inequalities in health outcomes, both between and within countries. This area could also include work on correlates/determinants of health outcomes, relevant for the region (e.g., the role of conflict, the role of epidemiological transitions and the increasing importance of NCD – non communicable diseases).
(ii) Inequality in access to healthcare as well as barriers to healthcare access that limit progress towards equitable access to healthcare. Some of the barriers could include: the role of education (in particular health education), gendered norms, socio-economic status, migration status.
(iii) Building on (ii) above, explore the role of healthcare infrastructure (both, physical and healthcare staff) in reducing inequity in healthcare access. Some of the topics could include: the availability of primary healthcare and its role in reaching difficult to reach people, the availability of healthcare staff, including female workers.
(iv) The role of healthcare financing (both, domestic and international) in reducing the inequality in access to healthcare (and therefore improving health outcomes).
(v) Health system governance which includes participation of vulnerable groups decision-making, as well as the impact that unstable or failed democracies can have on health systems.
(vi) Inequality in access to medications and medicinal products including the role of new technologies.
The International Journal for Equity in Health and the guest editors would like to promote the inclusion of early career researchers, practitioners, and other non-academic contributors.