Social Determinants, Human Rights and Vulnerabilities

This track will explore how the social determinants of health (SODH) and Human Rights approaches can contribute to reducing health inequities and improve health.

The social determinants of health (SODH) are the socioeconomic and structural factors that influence the conditions in which people are born, live, grow and age. These factors lie outside the realm of the health sector and determine how people become sick, what risk factors they are exposed to, how they access services, and how they use those services. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. Poorly performing health systems can also be a barrier to health care and a critical social determinant of health. Vulnerable populations in low and high income settings face both the risk of being exposed to poor social conditions and a limited access to healthcare services when in need. Investment in social determinants and reduction of health inequities is therefore crucial to realize the right of all people to have equal opportunities for health and to pursue lives that they value. This moral imperative which coincides with the commitments all countries have made to health and human rights through international human rights treaties, require integrated policies which combine actions on the various social determinants assuring that over the life cycle, all people in need have access to essential health care and to basic income security which together secure effective access to goods and services.

Main themes

  • Integration of issues beyond health into policy and practice
  • Vulnerabilities, Human Rights and Social Determinants: integration of these issues into the post-MDG development context

Questions for the 2014 edition

  • How to establish innovative and effective policy frameworks that allow coordination across sectors?
  • How to measure progress on the social determinants of health?
  • How to ensure that data on health inequities and social determinants is collected and integrated into policy processes?
  • How can the “health in all policies” approach assist leaders and policy-makers to integrate considerations of health, well-being and equity during the development, implementation and evaluation of policies and services?

Please note that these are only sample questions and do not cover the subject in its entirety.


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