Social determinants of health

Progress on the implementation of the Rio Political Declaration

© Zoltan Balogh
Children in a poor district in Budapest, Hungary, 2007

The 66th World Health Assembly of WHO in May 2013 approved the report on the progress on action on Social Determinants of Health. The report describes the main developments that have taken place since the World Conference in 2011. Tackling Social Determinants of Health is recognised as being a fundamental approach to the work of WHO and a priority area in the draft 12th WHO general programme of work 2014 - 2019


What are social determinants of health?

The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.

Highlights

  • July 2014

    Meeting on measuring and monitoring intersectoral factors influencing equity in Universal Health Coverage and health

    The Social Determinants of Health unit in collaboration with the departments of Gender, Equity and Human Rights and Health Statistics and Information Systems are developing indicators for monitoring the social determinants of health in relation to health system performance assessment (including Universal Heatlh Care and health impact goals). This report summarizes progress made at a meeting held on 6 to 8 May, 2014 in Bellagio, Italy, to advance the development of a framework for monitoring.

  • June 2014

    WHO completes a Rockefeller supported project to work with countries on discussions of health in all policies in lead-up to the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion and the Resolution WHA67.12. Contributing to social and economic development: sustainable action across sectors to improve health and health equity. Several reports documenting these discussions and associated research are provided under "Supporting regional positions on Health in all Policies" under the Publications section.

  • November 2013

    The Economics of Social Determinants of Health project

    WHO launched the Economics of Social Determinants of Health project, supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada, to describe and discuss the potential for economic rationales to make the case for social determinants of health interventions, and to summarize economic evidence in key public policy areas. Improving understanding of economic rationales for intersectoral policy and programme interventions is therefore an important component of work for countries implementing social determinants of health recommendations.

  • October 2013

    Social Determinants of Health Sectoral Briefing Series 5

    This briefing describes the energy sector – its public policy challenges, how the sector tries to address these challenges, and areas for potential collaboration between health and energy.

  • September 2013

    Multisectoral Action Framework for Malaria launched alongside 68th United Nations General Assembly

    The Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Multisectoral Action Framework for Malaria calls for greater coordinated action among different development sectors to tackle the disease, which exacts its deadliest toll in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • 24 July 2013

    Social Determinants of Health Discussion Paper 9

    This paper describes the Spanish experience of health equity training led by the Ministry of Health of Spain. It highlights some of the emerging results and describes lessons learnt across the national process. The experience contributes to the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health by supporting the reorientation of the Spanish health sector towards reducing health inequities, including moving towards universal health coverage that is accessible, affordable, and good quality for all.

  • 3 July 2013

    Handbook on Health Inequality Monitoring

    The Handbook on health inequality monitoring: with a special focus on low- and middle-income countries is a resource that enables countries to do just that. It presents a comprehensive yet clear overview of health inequality monitoring in a user-friendly manner. The handbook succeeds in giving those involved in health inequality monitoring an appreciation of the complexities of the process, as well as building the practical knowledge and skills for systematic monitoring of health inequalities in low- and middle-income countries.

  • 5 July 2013

    Call for focus on social determinants to bolster malaria response: JOINT PRESS RELEASE Roll Back Malaria Partnership and UNDP

    Experts from government, academia, civil society, international financing institutions, UN organizations and the private sector were convened in Geneva by Roll Back Malaria and the United Nations Development Programme to assess what contribution they could make in expanding the fight against malaria beyond the health sector. The experts developed an Action Framework, which will be reflected in the discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals, the next Global Malaria Action Plan for 2016-2025 and national malaria strategies.

  • 10 June 2013

    Health promotion conference builds momentum for HiAP

    From June 10 to 14, 2013, nearly 900 delegates from all over the world gathered at the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion held in Helsinki, Finland. Co-organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the conference centered on the topic “Health in All Policies.”

  • 28 May 2013

    Social determinants of health discussed at the 66th World Health Assembly

    Given the growing recognition of its importance, action on social determinants of health was again discussed at the recently concluded 66th World Health Assembly (WHA66) held May 20-28, 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan reminded Member States that “factors that contribute to good health at low cost include a commitment to equity, effective governance systems, and context-specific programmes that address the wider social and environmental determinants of health.”

  • 14 May 2013

    AFRO commits to implementing Health in All Policies approach

    WHO Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) gathered policymakers and experts from twelve Eastern and Southern African countries to discuss how Health in All Policies (HiAP) can be implemented at the national level in order to achieve health equity.

  • 4 February 2013

    Health in the post-2015 development agenda: need for a social determinants of health approach

    This is an informal document aiming at informing on how best to consider the social determinants of health aspects in the post-2015 global thematic consultations organized under the United Nations Development Group.

  • 6 December 2012

    UN General Assembly Resolution (A/67/L.36)

    The UN General Assembly approved on 6 December 2012 a land mark Resolution entitled Global Health and Foreign Policy. The resolution calls upon Member States and the UN to urgently and significantly scale up efforts to accelerate the transition towards Universal Health Coverage recognizing it should be based, inter alia, on the capacities for broad public health measures, health protection and addressing the social determinants of health through policies across sectors.

  • 27 July 2012

    Final report of the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health is now available

    The WHO Conference Secretariat put together the full Report of the World Conference (66 pages with color pictures). A 16 page summary Report is also available.

  • 26 June 2012

    World Health Assembly endorses the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health

    A resolution endorsing the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health was adopted in May 2012 by WHO Member States at the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • 24 May 2012

    Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly Side Event

    The United Kingdom government, in partnership with the World Medical Association (WMA) and the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), held a side-event that explored concrete mechanisms related to the role of health care providers.

  • 13 February 2012

    Outcome of the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health

    The Executive Board having considered the report on the World Conference on Social Determinants of Health (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 2011), recommends to the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly the adoption of the following resolution.

  • 10 May 2011

    World Conference on Social Determinants of Health

    WHO convened a global conference on 19-21 October 2011 - World Conference on Social Determinants of Health (WCSDH) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to build support for the implementation of action on social determinants of health. Member States adopted the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health.