Social determinants of health

National Health Workforce Accounts: standards on Social Determinants of Health

November 2017 – During the Fourth Global Forum on Human Resources for Health the National Health Workforce Accounts (NHWA) were launched with an aim to provide concise information on the health workforce situation and trends of a country; facilitate the standardization of a health workforce information system; as well as to support tracking Human Resources for Health policy performance towards UHC. The NHWA include three indicators related to education and training on social determinants of health and Health in All Policies approach:

Keeping the vector out - Housing improvements for vector control and sustainable development

7 November 2017 - WHO has produced the policy brief “Keeping the vector out: housing improvements for vector control and sustainable development” that contributes to recognize the importance of integrated approaches of vector control and aiming at highlighting effective housing interventions to prevent vector-borne diseases.

Progressing the Sustainable Development Goals through Health in All Policies: case studies from around the world

12 October 2017 - WHO and the Government of South Australia published the Case Study Book on Health in All Policies (HiAP), which describes experiences from around the world in the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. While there is no single or simple model for HiAP, there is a growing evidence base of facilitating conditions for HiAP.
The case study book documents experiences, capturing important elements of HiAP practice through an analysis of established and emerging models. It is aimed at the international health community and the broader sustainable development network. It will be of interest to those who want to know more about implementing HiAP.

Cover of SDH Discussion Paper Series as No 10.

Intersectoral factors influencing equity oriented progress towards Universal Health Coverage: results from a scoping review of literature

5 July 2017 – Achieving Universal Health Coverage is a major responsibility and goal of the health sector. But it cannot be done by the health sector alone. Inequities across these intersectoral factors affect equity-oriented progress towards UHC. The scoping literature review on the intersectoral factors influencing equity oriented progress towards UHC described the relevance of a key set of domains for different health conditions as well as characterizing specific variables indicative of barriers to care.

New Innov8 Facilitator’s Manual: A capacity building tool to ensure no one is left behind

5 July 2017 – The Innov8 Facilitator’s Manual is designed for persons conducting the capacity-building workshops of applications of the Innov8 approach for reviewing national health programmes to leave no one behind. Innov8 is an 8-step review process that supports programmes to be more equity-oriented, rights-based, gender-responsive and to address social determinants in order to contribute to the progressive realization of universal health coverage and the right to health. The Manual - the partnering publication to the Innov8 Technical Handbook - provides an overarching introduction to the facilitation of a generic Innov8 review process entailing three workshops: sensitization, review and redesign, to aid and support the adaptation process.

Panellists at the conference, Geneva 2017

Global Network for Health in All Policies launched at the 70th World Health Assembly

24 May 2017 - The Global Network for Health in All Policies (GNHiAP) is an initiative launched by five governmental collaborators that will work jointly to strengthen and institutionalize HiAP and facilitate its implementation. The network will help countries to achieve all health related SDG targets and move towards Universal Health Coverage.


fact buffet

Mortality reduction in child under-5

50% was attributed to non-health sector investments by the Success Factors study (between 1990 and 2010)

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Integrated social and medical services can be

10 timesmore effective than waiting for families to visit health services

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Cash transfers in Zambia increased from

62 to 84%household consumption of vitamins and resulted in less sick days reported among children and the elderly

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What are social determinants of health?

Slums in Kurla, Mumbai.
WHO /D. Rodriguez

The social determinants of health (SDH) are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies and political systems. The SDH network across WHO supports action on the SDH.
The SDGs provide a comprehensive blueprint for human development and for systematically addressing the social determinants of health.

Areas of work

Health and development governance - Health in All Policies

While many public policies contribute to health and health equity, improving population health is not the sole purpose of societies and their governments.

Health sector reorientation towards SD

The Innov8 Approach for Reviewing National Health Programmes to Leave No One Behind is an 8-step analytic process undertaken by a multidisciplinary review team.

Action on key sectors for SDH

There are significant socio-demographic inequalities in both exposure to and negative health outcomes arising from adverse environmental conditions.

Monitoring progress on SDH and health equity

In order to close health gaps, it is particularly important to consider monitoring how changes in policies in other sectors are impacting health and health inequalities.

Online platforms


Health in All Policies: trainers platform