Social Determinants of Health

Project Status
December 13, 2017
  • Jul32014
    Jul 03 2014 - Jul 04 2014 Promoting action on the social determinants of health
    ANALYSING SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH INEQUITY   Health is not just the absence of disease. Health and well-being in the broadest sense are achieved by eliminating social inequalities and ensuring that everyone has access to medical care, enough food, clean water, decent living ...

Health inequalities between and within countries are a global challenge. The starting point of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (2005-2008), set up by the World Health Organization and chaired by Sir Michael Marmot, was that systematic differences in health and life expectancy between and within countries are avoidable and therefore inequitable. Following a three-year process of engagement with policy-makers, civil society and researchers, including evidence gathering and knowledge synthesis, the Commission made recommendations to reduce health inequalities through action on the social determinants of health at local, national and international levels. The Commission argued that it could not make recommendations to suit every regional, national or local context, but it established three principles of action, and within these principles it made recommendations across twelve areas.  

The Commission’s three principles for action are:  
1) Improve the conditions of daily life – the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age.
2) Tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money, and resources – the structural drivers of those conditions of daily life – globally, nationally and locally.
3) Measure the problem, evaluate action, expand the knowledge base, develop a workforce that is trained in the social determinants of health, and raise public awareness about the social determinants of health.
Following the Commission’s 2008 report, the World Health Assembly passed a resolution in May 2009 urging all member states to tackle health inequities through action on the social determinants of health and to examine the impact of policies and programmes on health inequities (