WHO Webinar - Inequities in COVID-19 infection and mortality: socioeconomic risk factors and populations at risk


4 November 2020, 15:00-16 PM CET, join via Zoom


The COVID-19 pandemic and containment responses have exposed existing social, economic, gender, ethnic and health inequities and are rapidly exacerbating these. The higher risks of infection and mortality recorded for specific population groups can be traced to a legacy of cumulative inequities in the social determinants of health (SDH). Additionally, the necessary COVID-19 response measures applied, while helping to reduce infection and mortality, have placed a disproportionate burden on more disadvantaged populations, widening health inequities (the avoidable, unfair or remedial differences in health between different social groups defined by socioeconomic status, education, occupation, ethnicity, legal status, geographic area or gender). This webinar calls attention to increased threats to health for disadvantaged groups, who are suffering now. Health inequities arising from COVID-19 need to be mitigated urgently.


    To discuss global evidence on COVID-19 health inequities and the explanatory SDH factors.
    To explore ways to mitigate the inequitable impact of the pandemic.


Moderator: Dr Etienne Krug, Director, Department of Social Determinants of Health, WHO

1. Welcome

Dr Naoko Yamamoto, Assistant Director-General, UHC/Healthier Populations Division, WHO

2. Opening remarks

Sir Michael Marmot, Director, Institute of Health Equity, University College London

3. Evidence on the extent, scope and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on health inequities1

Dr Nicole Valentine, A/Unit Head, Equity and Health Unit, Department of Social Determinants of Health, WHO

4. Addressing the social determinants of health in the COVID-19 pandemic:

      i.  National policies to local settings

     Dr Kwame McKenzie, Director, Wellesley Institute, Canada

     ii.  High poverty & HIV burden settings

     Dr Vera Scott, Associate Professor, School of Public Health, University  of the Western Cape, South Africa

   iii.  Improving public health surveillance on the social determinants of health

   Dr Michelle Kelly-Irving, INSERM, France

5.  Discussion

6.  Closing remarks

   Dr Etienne Krug

1This presentation draws from interim findings of an ongoing rapid systematic review of the evidence. The review is being conducted by WHO with the Institute of Health Equity, University College London, and other collaborators.