Montreal. - MACHEquity is making its complete sets of comparative social policy data in low- and middle-income countries freely available for download. This includes decades’ worth of information on policies like maternity leave, minimum wage, and minimum age of marriage, which can be used by researchers, governments and civil society to better understand the evolution of policy and its potential effects on population health and well-being.
The Maternal and Child Health Equity research program (MACHEquity), based at McGill University, examines how social policies focused on reducing poverty, income and gender inequality impact the health of children and women under the age of 50.
Over the past five years, MACHEquity has developed comprehensive databases on social policies in 121 lowand-middle-income countries. The databases cover the period from 1995 to 2013, and include quantitative and comparative information on policies such as maternity leave, breastfeeding breaks at work, minimum wage, and minimum age of marriage. They can be downloaded for free from the website.
For each LMIC, there is data, for example, on the length of their maternity leave or the level of their minimum wage. The data visualization tools also allow any user to track how a particular policy has changed over time.
Because knowing how policy has changed is only one part of the equation, the Advanced version of the data download tool allows users to examine how health and socio-economic indicators have changed along with policy. This is the first step towards understanding the relationships that can exist between social policies and health and health equity, and can help develop research on the effect of policy on other outcomes. MACHEquity has used this data in different analyses which can be found on the Publications page.