New WHO publication on social determinants of health
Interventions to improve health equity in neglected tropical diseases and other priority areas such as child health and nutrition, maternal health, and tuberculosis are presented in a new WHO book entitled Equity, social determinants and public health programmes.
The book, published by WHO's Department of Ethics, Equity, Trade and Human Rights, presents the work undertaken by the WHO-based Knowledge Network on Priority Public Health Conditions, which was part of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. The book highlights 16 of the major public health programmes of WHO. Edited by Erik Blas, TDR's former Programme Manager, and Anand Sivasankara Kurup, it is a collection of analyses of the social determinants of health that impact on specific health conditions. One of the chapters (Chapter 8), by longtime TDR collaborator Jens Aargaard-Hansen and Claire-Lise Chaignat, discusses 'Inequity and Social Determinants of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)'.
This NTD-specific analysis proposes an action list to:
- address water, sanitation and household-related factors (the preventive package)
- reduce environmental risk factors through planning based on health impact assessments for new projects and mitigating revisions of existing schemes
- improve health of migrating populations who are often vulnerable to NTDs and have reduced access to health care
- reduce inequity due to sociocultural factors and gender which can interact with NTDs in various ways
- reduce poverty, the single most conspicuous social determinant, in NTD-endemic populations as part of general poverty alleviation programs and by ensuring affordable treatment
- set up risk assessment and surveillance systems to address inequity and identify ''hot spots''
In addition to the book, case studies on a number of public health programmes were commissioned by WHO to examine the implementation challenges in addressing social determinants of health in low-and middle-income settings. TDR co-sponsored a series of case studies on infectious disease programmes and how these addressed social determinants of health and equity issues. These will be published soon as a web-based publication.