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Measuring Ethnic Health Inequalities

Papers Look At Ways To Measure Ethnic Health Inequalities

27 June 2001

THE Ministry of Health has published two occasional papers looking at how ethnic inequalities in health can best be measured and monitored.

These reports stem from the Government's Reducing Inequalities policy initiative and link in with New Zealand Health Strategy objectives to reduce ethnic inequalities in health.

The information provided will be of value to all those involved with ethnic health statistics and ethnic inequalities in health, says Deputy Director General of Maori Health, Ria Earp.

"Reliable data on Maori health issues helps us to identify where we need to focus our efforts, especially when budgets are tight, and also tells us how successful our efforts have been."

Monitoring Ethnic Inequalities in Health aims to summarise how ethnic health statistics in New Zealand have evolved and to identify ways of improving these statistics in future. Suggestions as to how this might be done include providing more training for staff who record ethnicity, including hospital admission clerks and funeral directors.

Indicators of Inequality provides a classification system for ethnic health disparity indicators and outlines criteria for their selection. The report lists potential indicators of inequality in health outcomes between ethnic groups, but also emphasises that these indicators need to be linked with social indicators and provider performance measures if differences in outcomes between ethnic groups are to be understood.


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