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To facilitate country processes in support of governments' commitment, UNICEF has developed the EQUIST (Equitable Impact Sensitive Tool), a powerful web-based analytical platform designed to help decision-makers develop equitable strategies to improve health and nutrition for the most vulnerable children and women. It incorporates functionality of Lives Saved Tool (LiST)1 in its back-end to model lives saved and uses data and principles from the Marginal Budgeting for Bottlenecks (MBB) tool for its costing component. EQUIST identifies cost-effective interventions, prioritizes key bottlenecks that constrain their coverage and targets the most effective and equity-focused strategies that can address these bottlenecks to increase MNCH intervention coverage and fast track the reduction of maternal and child mortality, especially among deprived populations.

EQUIST helps UNICEF and its partners to work with national partners to adapt and apply EQUIST as an evidence-based and equity-focused planning tool to improve country strategies and plans in order to raise the coverage of high impact reproductive, maternal, newborn and child and adolescent health and nutrition (RMNCAH&N) interventions.

The application of EQUIST involves:

  • Building Capacity: developing the capacity of technical and managerial personnel within UNICEF Country Offices, government officials and key national partners;
  • Conducting Scenario Analyses: supporting stakeholders in identifying priority populations, interventions, bottlenecks and operational strategies, and estimating the required additional resources;
  • Facilitating Dialogue: facilitating policy dialogue among key decision makers, to support key decisions on priority interventions and strategies; and
  • Documenting Lessons Learned: capitalizing on the lessons learned in the process through: 1) systematic documentation; and 2) peer-to-peer experience sharing (e.g. community of practice, learning tours, coaching and mentorship). As a result of these activities, countries have the opportunity to:
    • Develop evidence-based, equity-focused strategies and enhanced plans for MNCH and nutrition;
    • Mobilize and re-allocate resources to address remaining gaps in strategic plans; and
    • Institutionalize an equity-based approach to planning and health systems strengthening (HSS).

 

1. The Lives Saved Tool (LiST), developed by the Institute for International Programs (IIP) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a model that estimates the impact of scaling up health and nutrition interventions on newborn, child, and maternal health.