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Challenging Inequities in HealthFrom Ethics to Action$
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Timothy Evans, Margaret Whitehead, Finn Diderichsen, Abbas Bhuiya, and Meg Wirth

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195137408

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137408.001.0001

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Health Equity: Perspectives, Measurability, and Criteria

Health Equity: Perspectives, Measurability, and Criteria

Chapter:
(p.68) Chapter 6 Health Equity: Perspectives, Measurability, and Criteria
Source:
Challenging Inequities in Health
Author(s):

AMARTYA SEN

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195137408.003.0006

This chapter continues the measurement discussion with a consideration of some of the greatest challenges inherent in attempts to measure inequities in health. It raises the question of what the informational basis should be for assessing health. Ideas of good health and ill health are themselves open to debate. What kind of information should we use to judge the relative goodness or badness of health? A critical distinction concerns the difference between the “internal” and “external” views of illness and health. Should we go by self-perception of bad health (what the patient herself thinks), or should we concentrate, instead, on professional assessment of illness and indifferent health? This also raises a question about the relevance and usefulness of indirect indicators (such as mortality rates and life expectancy).

Keywords:   Amartya Sen, measurement of health equity, subjective, objective

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