Indicators for Monitoring Health Targets

  • Sarah B. MacfarlaneEmail author
  • Carla AbouZahr
  • John Frank


Macfarlane, AbouZahr and Frank describe indicators that the health sector uses to measure performance against agreed targets and to compare health-care coverage and health outcomes between groups and across countries. They provide advice about interpreting indicator values and explain that the validity and reliability of indicators depends on the quality of data on which they are based—usually sourced from routine facility information systems, censuses, civil registration and surveys. The authors warn that one indicator only represents a piece of reality and that it is best to interpret them in the context of a conceptual framework. The authors observe that international agreements to attain development goals have increased pressure on national governments to report escalating numbers of indicators and that international partners are collaborating to harmonize their requirements.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah B. Macfarlane
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carla AbouZahr
    • 2
  • John Frank
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, and Institute for Global Health SciencesUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.CAZ Consulting Sarl, Bloomberg Data for Health InitiativeGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Public Health Research and Policy, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and InformaticsUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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