NEWS20 February 2024

WHO launches framework for monitoring social determinants of health equity

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GLOBAL – The World Health Organization (WHO) has published new guidance on monitoring social determinants of health equity, in response to ‘insufficient’ progress since the organisation established its commission on social determinants of health in 2005.

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The WHO has developed the resource, Operational framework for monitoring social determinants of health equity, for governments and their partners.

It promotes the use of data for policy action across sectors, with the aim of improving health equity.

The guidance comes ahead of a report on social determinants of health equity, set to be submitted to the World Health Assembly in May 2024.  

In the report, Dr Etienne Krug, director, department of social determinants of health, World Health Organization, wrote: “Nearly two decades ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) Commission on Social Determinants of Health set out an agenda to support countries in addressing social determinants of health.

“Despite a number of high-level commitments by many governments, progress in implementing the Commission’s recommendations remains insufficient. Recent interlinked crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and conflict, have exacerbated inequities in health and have highlighted the urgent need for governments to rebuild societies in ways that benefit everyone.”

The operational framework consists of two main components: a menu of indicators for monitoring social determinants of health equity adaptable to different settings, and areas and actions for implementation.

Krug added: “We hope this publication will support data-driven decision-making for policymakers and practitioners to improve the health of all populations, and thus be an important tool towards creating fairer societies and healthier lives.”