Measuring and monitoring child health and wellbeing: recommendations for tracking progress with a core set of indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals era

Lancet Child Adolesc Health. 2022 May;6(5):345-352. doi: 10.1016/S2352-4642(22)00039-6.


Although great improvements in child survival were achieved in the past two decades, progress has been uneven within and across countries, and the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse previous advances. Demographic and epidemiological transitions around the world have resulted in shifts in the causes and distribution of child death and diseases, and many children are living with short-term and long-term chronic illnesses and disabilities. These changes, plus global threats such as pandemics, transnational and national security issues, and climate change, mean that regular monitoring of child health and wellbeing is essential if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This Health Policy describes the three-phased process undertaken by the Child Health Accountability Tracking technical advisory group (CHAT) to develop a core set of indicators on child health and wellbeing for global monitoring purposes, and presents CHAT's research recommendations to address data gaps. CHAT reached consensus on 20 core indicators specific to the health sector, which include 11 impact-level indicators and nine outcome-level indicators that cover the topics of: acute conditions and prevention; health promotion and child development; and chronic conditions, disabilities, injuries, and violence against children. An additional six indicators (three impact and three outcome) that capture information on child health issues such as malaria and HIV are recommended; however, these indicators are only relevant to high-burden regions. CHAT's four research priorities will require investments in health information systems and measurement activities. These investments will help to increase data on children aged 5-9 years; develop standard metadata and data collection processes to enable cross-country comparisons and progress assessments over time; reach a global consensus on essential interventions and associated indicators for monitoring emerging priority areas such as child development, chronic conditions, disabilities, and injuries; and implement strategies to increase the uptake of data on child health to improve evidence-based planning, programming, and advocacy efforts.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Child Health
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Sustainable Development*