Priority public health conditions
Priority Public Health Conditions Knowledge Network (PPHC KN) was one of the Knowledge Networks that was created to support the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH). As part of the PPHC KN, WHO global health programmes, together with academic researchers have undertaken an extensive analysis of upstream social determinants and health equity, and identified interventions in their respective public health programmes that could reduce health inequities, and improve health outcomes. 16 of WHO global health programmes at Head Quarters and at the regional offices such as alcohol related conditions, cardiovascular diseases, child health, nutrition and malaria, diabetes, food related conditions, HIV/AIDS, injuries, maternal health, mental health, neglected tropical diseases, oral health, sexual and reproductive health, tuberculosis, and tobacco related conditions were involved in the work of the PPHC KN.
In order to explore key features and issues related to implementation of interventions focusing on reducing inequities, the PPHC KN engaged with field researchers in Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Tanzania, and Vanuatu to study public health programmes that have addressed health equity and social determinants of health. For this, ETH has joined with three research programmes in WHO, i.e, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), the Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP), Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research.
The PPHC KN took an innovative and pragmatic approach to the politics of public health as well as to the involvement of sectors other than health. Based on the evidence collected, PPHC KN proposes a range of actions that can be taken by public health programmes individually or collectively to achieve more equitable health outcomes. The work of the PPHC KN was carried forward with a conviction that achieving greater equity in health is a goal by itself and that achieving the various specific global health and development targets without, at the same time ensuring maximum equity across populations is of low value. Effectively addressing inequities in health, therefore might not only involve new sets of interventions, but likely it will also require modifications to the way that public health programmes and possibly WHO are organized and operate as well as push the definition boundaries of what constitutes a public health intervention.