Social determinants of health

Health systems

A health worker is measuring blood pressure of an old woman, Moscow, Russia.
WHO /Sergey Volkov

The way health systems are designed, operate and financed act as a powerful determinant of health. Evidence on the effectiveness of different models for health systems to improve health equity outcomes will be reviewed. In an effort to gather and subsequently mainstream knowledge and action on how to overcome social barriers to health, the focus will be on innovative approaches that effectively incorporate action on social determinants of health. The recommendations will be highly relevant for countries with tight resources.

Organizational hub:

Centre for Health Policy, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa was the hub for Health Systems Knowledge Network. The Centre seeks to contribute to excellence in health policy and health economics research, and to be a critical participant in health policy processes. Hub leader: Lucy Gilson.

Key publications

Final report of the Health Systems Knowledge Network - Challenging inequity through health systems

Health systems are seen by the HSKN to include all activities whose primary purpose is to improve health. This final report discusses important health system features and actions that can address health inequity. While it focuses on low- and middle-income countries, many of the recommendations may be appropriate to high-income countries.

Building equitable, people-centred national health systems: the role of parliament and parliamentary committees on health in East and Southern Africa

This literature review, commissioned by the Health Systems Knowledge Network, presents evidence from published literature on parliament's work, its role in relation to policy, law and financing of government action on health, how parliaments can influence policy and law: Godfrey Musuka and Innocent Chingombe.

Proposed areas of investigation for the Knowledge Network: an initial scoping of the literature

Health Systems Knowledge Network: a framework for understanding the health system as a social determinant, building the national policy space for health policies that seek social justice, work plan for health systems.

More publications