Throughout the world, socially disadvantaged people with inadequate access to health resources suffer worse health status and die younger than people in more privileged social positions. Yet although the greatest share of health problems is attributable to living conditions, health policies are dominated by disease-focused solutions that largely ignore the social environment. As a result, inequalities have widened and health interventions have obtained less than optimal results. The focus of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), created by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005, is on addressing the root causes of poor health and reducing inequalities worldwide. Hoda Rashad reports on the work of CSDH in advocating for a paradigm shift in the way health is perceived, and argues that policy, action and leadership to address social factors can improve health and access to healthcare.
Africa, Kenya, CSDH, urban areas, WHO