30 October 2013: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a review, which “answers policy-makers’ demands for practical guidance on social policies that work to reduce inequities in health”. The review identifies 12 “best buy” priorities for policy; particularly child poverty and unemployment in young people.
“For the first time we have an unprecedented evidence-based set of practical policy recommendations about what all countries can do to address the so-called “upstream” causes of health inequities, specifically targeted to their income level,” says Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe
The Review of Social Determinants and the Health Divide in the WHO European Region is the result of two years of research by a cross-disciplinary consortium of Europe’s leading experts, chaired by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, a leading world expert in health equity.
Professor Marmot visited Australia and New Zealand in April 2011 to attend a meeting hosted by the Asia Pacific hub of Global Action for Health Equity Network (AP-HealthGAEN) (reported in the Autumn/Winter issue of Hauora 2011). Here the Asia-Pacific applications of the global work in health equity were discussed. In her Hauora article on the subject Dr Belinda Loring pointed out that over 60% of the world’s population lives in the Asia Pacific region. “Life expectancy across the region varies by over 20 years,” she commented. “The scale of health inequities and the intensification of influences on health in this region demand specific attention and assessment through an Asia Pacific lens.” Dr Loring is Senior Policy Officer at HealthGAEN and an HPF Fellow
The Global Action for Health Equity Network (HealthGAEN) is an informal alliance for health equity through action on the social and environmental determinants of health. It was established to build on the momentum, expertise and partnerships generated through the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH). The Asia-Pacific hub of HealthGAEN (AP-HealthGAEN) was established in 2009 to build a network for support and joint action on addressing health inequity across the region. The Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand (HPF) is an active member of AP-HealthGAEN.
The CDSH, chaired by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, was established in 2005. It was the start of a global movement for health equity. It focused on action on the social determinants of health; generating worldwide interest among governments, civil society, academics and non- government organisations.
Read an executive summary of the review.
Read the European press release How to avert a public health emergency.
Read the UK briefing paper Public Health Time Bomb Waiting to Explode.
Item published 1 November 2013