Social determinants of health

Advanced HiAP capacity building to achieve SDGs

15 February 2018 - As part of the ongoing initiatives and programmes to provide integrated people centred health services, WHO Regional Office for Africa conducted a Health in All Policies (HiAP) workshop in South Africa’s Gauteng Province. During the workshop, the concept of HiAP was unpacked and its significance to the coordination of intersectoral action towards achieving the SDGs and addressing the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases.

Building health sector capacity to work with other sectors to achieve UHC

12 December 2017 – The newly established UHC2030 Multisectoral Action for Health Working Group will place an emphasis on building capacity for the health sector to work with other sectors as part of UHC, drawing from the Health in All Policies approach and on the political economy of multisectoral action for health, to support countries in addressing determinants of health and reaching UHC. The working group has been established by UHC2030 Steering Committee and will be co-led by the chairs, Dr Maureen Samms-Vaughan (University of the West Indies, Jamaica) and Dr Jeanette Vega (FONASA, Chile) and convened by WHO, UNICEF and World Bank.

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.

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