There has been a recent revitalization of Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) content on the WHO website. Since the 2011 World Conference on the Social Determinants of Health in Rio de Janeiro, there has been a revived interest on addressing the social determinants of health to achieve health equity. The newly revised website summarizes the work that has been completed since the widely influential report the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health published in 2008, and includes information on:
- Evidence on SDoH: During the Commission’s work, the WHO and its partners have established nine broad themes – including social exclusion, early child development, and employment conditions – that contain the major determinants of health. Further, this section offers national case studies of successful examples on policy action aimed at reducing health inequities.
- This section builds on the very useful Knowledge Networks first established to provide more detailed and focused analysis to support the main report. These theme areas remain a very valuable source on overarching issues such as women and gender equity and globalization, and on specific tools and mechanisms for change such as measurement and evidence, acting on SDoH within health systems and addressing the needs of economically and social disadvantaged populations.
- Action to Improve Health Equity: WHO, in collaboration with Member States and other organization and sectors, have taken action in the five priority areas specified by the Rio Political Declaration. This section describes the action being taken to address SDoH through the priority areas.
- Global Commitments: This section features declarations and mandates expressing the political commitment of WHO governing bodies in working on the SDoH.
- Publications: This section contains a variety of publications and resources related to SDoH, including governance tools and capacity building, reports on Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach, and work completed by the civil society and public health departments.
- Learning and Tools: This section has manuals and self-instructional courses on better understanding SDoH and how to encourage change on political agendas.
The revitalization of the WHO website collects useful evidence and resources for addressing the social determinants of health on a global scale. At the Wellesley Institute, we aim to contribute to this ongoing dialogue through projects such as Making the Connections, which seeks to make the complex and dynamic nature of SDoH understandable and actionable, and through policy analysis on how to embed social determinants and approaches such as Health in All Policies into the incentives and pressures that actually drive state policy.