Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Tuvia Horev is an associate professor in the Department of Health Systems Management, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). He holds a PhD in Health Policy and Management (BGU), a Master of Public Health degree from the Hebrew University Jerusalem (HUJI), and he is Dental Surgeon (HUHI). Horev served in various senior executive positions in the Israeli Healthcare system. His latest position, until December 2014, was Senior Deputy Director General for Strategic and Economic Planning, in the Ministry of Health (MoH), Israel.
The need for a national policy to mitigate health inequity has been recognized in scientific research and policy papers around the world. Despite the moral duty and the social, medical, and economic logic behind this goal, much difficulty surfaces in implementing national policies that propose to attain it. This is mainly due to an implementation gap that originates in the complex interventions that are needed and the lack of practical ability to translate knowledge into practices and policy tools. The article describes the Israeli attempt to design and implement a national strategic plan to mitigate health inequity. It describes the basic assumptions and objectives of the plan, its main components, and various examples of interventions implemented. Limitations of the Israeli policy and future challenges are discussed as well. Based on the Israeli experience, the article then sketches a generic framework for national-level action to mitigate inequalities in health and in the healthcare system. The framework suggests four main focal points as well as an outline of the main stakeholders that a national policy should take into consideration as agents of change. The Israeli policy and the generic framework presented in the article may serve researchers, decision-makers, and health officials as a case study on ways in which prevalent approaches toward the issue of health inequality may be translated into policy practice.