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Example 7: Equity Lens Protocol: Systematically Reflecting on Harms and Mitigation Activities Related to the COVID-19 Response

Developed by: Center for Community Health and Development/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Community Health and Development, University of Kansas.

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.

Download a PDF of the Equity Lens Protocol here.