Social Determinants of Health Special Interest Group

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Welcome to the Social Determinants of Health Special Interest Group

The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities - the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries.

Responding to increasing concern about these persisting and widening inequities, WHO established the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) in 2005 to provide advice on how to reduce them. The Commission's final report was launched in August 2008, and contained three overarching recommendations:

  • 1. Improve daily living conditions
  • 2. Tackle the inequitable distribution of power, money, and resources
  • 3. Measure and understand the problem and assess the impact of action

The Rio Political Declaration of 2011 confirmed Member State commitment to take action to address the social determinants of health in five areas:

  • Adopt improved governance for health and development
  • Promote participation in policy-making and implementation
  • Further reorient the health sector towards promoting health and reducing health inequities
  • Strengthen global governance and collaboration
  • Monitor progress and increase accountability

(http://www.who.int/social_determinants/en/)