The public health response to COVID-19 has had undesired consequences, especially for vulnerable populations such as those of low-income and racial or ethnic minorities.
Working in collaboration with a local public health system, this project had three primary objectives: a) To better understand potential harms of COVID-19 response activities, especially for vulnerable populations; b) To document mitigation strategies/activities implemented to minimize harms; and c) To reflect on what was learned and implications for practice.
We developed an Equity Lens Protocol (see attached pdf) with support from the Pan American Health Organization/WHO Regional Office for the Americas. The Equity Lens Protocol provides technical support for partners to systematically reflect on the COVID-19 response through an equity lens. The protocol offers questions to guide reflection, planning, and adjustments for: a) potential harms (i.e., how implementation of particular COVID-19 public health measures might harm vulnerable populations) and b) mitigation strategies implemented by the local public health system to minimize adverse consequences. This protocol is based on a Guidance document developed by the Pan American Health Organization1 to support assessment and planning for an equitable response to COVID-19.