Social determinants of health

Monitoring progress on the 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. Equally important is to monitor the quality of health services experienced by disadvantaged populations. Health determinants change the environment and thereby structure individuals’ health behaviours, their participation in health programmes as well as their incentives to safeguard health. Measuring these impacts are an important part of knowing which social determinants of health to address. Therefore, data on health inequalities and the influence of social determinants on health inequalities is critical to inform evidence-based programming and policies. It is also critical to advance monitoring of actions taken across the Rio Political Declaration Action Areas in order to improve accountability for progress.

In practice this means engaging in several different actions to identify the broader social drivers of health gaps. Among these, one relevant action countries can take is to improve monitoring health determinants/barriers by:

  • promoting consolidated country profiles, assessment approaches, and indicators to describe, evaluate and monitor social determinants of health and health equity and intervention and policy effectiveness;
  • supporting a global network of partners working on monitoring of the social determinants of health equity and action on social determinants of health equity;
  • assessing trends in health determinants for strategic prioritization of health interventions and intersectoral actions tailored to address the social gradient in health.