FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2020
In a landmark step to open gender data up to the world, three prominent international authorities on gender and health have today launched the world’s most comprehensive global public dashboard. The dashboard illustrates clearly how COVID-19 affects the health of men and women differently across the globe while dramatically increasing the number of countries monitored.
Today, fewer than one in three of the world’s countries are reporting sex-disaggregated data for both COVID-19 cases and deaths. Among the 173 countries currently tracked, 75 reported no data at all separately for women and men in the last month. The remaining countries – 25% of the total tracked – only report partial data.
This is despite the fact that global data from the dashboard has revealed stark gender differences in COVID-19 health outcomes. The dashboard contains sex-disaggregated data for almost 15 million cases and over half a million deaths. Across the 56 countries that make such data available, the dashboard shows that men account for 40% more COVID-19 deaths. It further shows gendered differences along the clinical pathway, from testing through to intensive care admissions.
The dashboard expands on the sex-disaggregated data tracker launched by Global Health 50/50 in March 2020. It is a concerted move to open up crucial collated data to those outside of research establishments, stimulating governments and members of the public to be involved.
It was, and remains, the world’s only initiative that systematically collects and publishes national COVID-19 data on men and women separately. To date, the data has been used extensively by researchers and advocates, and powers several global databases including at UN Women and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).
The data published in the dashboard aids in highlighting the role social environments are playing in determining who is most at risk in the pandemic, the actions that can be taken as part of effective, equitable responses to preventing and treating COVID-19.
The dashboard is the first action of the Sex, Gender and COVID-19 Project – a partnership of Global Health 50/50 (GH5050) based in the UK, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) based in India and the U.S., and the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), based in Kenya. They have banded together to work with governments across the world to improve the understanding of a crucial area of health promotion and disease management. Combined with the data from the dashboard, the partnership aims to support governments and health bodies to generate the insights they need to make evidence-based decisions when designing COVID-19 responses.
The dashboard currently monitors and collects sex-disaggregated data from over 170 countries, providing a global snapshot alongside detailed country data which demonstrates how trends differ across both countries and time. It tracks sex-disaggregated data on testing, confirmed cases, hospitalizations, Intensive Care Unit admissions, and deaths, as well as confirmed cases and deaths by age, and infections among healthcare workers.
GH5050 co-founder and expert in global public health Professor Sarah Hawkes said: “We’ve dedicated hundreds of hours to collating, analysing and publishing national COVID-19 data reported by sex. The data is often irregular, hard to find or simply non-existent. Ensuring that this data is accessible to policy-makers, researchers, advocates and the public will mean more effective, equitable and evidence-informed solutions are possible – thus helping to turn the tide of the pandemic and build back better.”
As well as collating and publishing available COVID-19 data within the dashboard, the partnership highlights where crucial data gaps remain and is calling on those governments who do not currently collect or publish sex disaggregated data to do so.
APHRC Executive Director, Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi said: “Robust sex- disaggregated data are needed, not just for global, but for local action. We are pleased to contribute to this initiative – to improve our understanding of the gendered impacts of COVID-19 in East Africa and how the region compares with other parts of the world.”
Alongside data collection, the partnership is undertaking an analysis of current policies and previous research to uncover evidence-based best practice to reduce gender disparities in the health impact of COVID-19. This will be reviewed by an expert panel of national and global health leaders.
The combined evidence will be used to inform a set of effective, real-world recommendations for governments, providing insight on how current policies can be tailored to incorporate gender considerations that have a better chance of reducing the impact of the pandemic and reaching people equitably with the health services and support they need, while also lessening the economic impact of the epidemic.
Clear data broken down by sex and a gender analysis of individual behaviours, health systems and national policies, are essential to understanding risk factors in the COVID-19 crisis and how they interact with broader health and gender inequalities.
ICRW Asia Director Ravi Verma said: “Reports from India indicate that men are more likely to test positive for COVID-19. This may be because men suffer from higher rates of comorbidities and because inequalities keep women from accessing health services, including COVID-19 testing. However, comprehensive data disaggregated by sex is hard to come by. Governments will have to dig deep to counter the compounding impact on women, girls and other marginalized communities – and that starts with data that brings inequalities to light.”
About Global Health 50/50
Global Health 50/50, housed at University College London, is an independent research and advocacy initiative that promotes far-reaching transparency, action and accountability to advance gender equality and health equity. Established in 2017, it brings together leading feminists including doctors, academics, journalists, politicians and policy experts from all corners of the world. https://globalhealth5050.org/covid19/
About The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) is a global research institute with offices located in Washington, D.C.; New Delhi, India; Nairobi, Kenya; and Kampala, Uganda. Established in 1976 and anchored in the principle of human dignity, ICRW advances gender equity, social inclusion and shared prosperity worldwide. Our researchers dig into the ways gender shapes societies and the ways people’s lives are diminished by power imbalances. We use evidence to inform our advocacy, advisory services and program design. Our evidence sheds light on some of the most intractable challenges facing us and informs solutions that work. https://www.icrw.org/ and https://www.icrw.org/asia/
About The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
The African Population and Health Research Center is the continent’s premier research institution and think tank, exploring questions of population health and wellbeing. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with a newly opened satellite office in Dakar, Senegal, the Center seeks to drive change with evidence led by a growing cadre of research leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa. Our teams orient their research agendas according to global and continental development priorities, driven by the belief that Africa and African-generated evidence must be at the forefront of decisions supporting improved growth and development. https://aphrc.org/
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Release Date: September 10, 2020
Media Contact: Joe Shaffner, Senior Communications Manager, ICRW
As originally published by The Seep Network on April 2, 2020