Social Determinants and the Health Divide in the WHO European Region

Interesting conceptual model linking policies and practices to social determinants of health (Pages 13 and 11).

My take home paragraph is (Pages 21-22):

"A human rights–based approach to health equity is needed Oldring & Jerbi (66) discussed human rights and health.

Today there is growing recognition of the links between health and a wide range of human rights, as well as a growing appreciation of the right to the highest attainable standard of health itself. There is broad agreement that health policies, programmes and practices can have a direct bearing on the enjoyment of human rights, while a lack of respect for human rights can have  serious health consequences. Protecting human rights is recognized as key to protecting public health.

The right to health means that governments must generate conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible. A human rights–based approach to health gives importance not only to goals and outcomes but also to the processes in trying to achieve these goals and outcomes. Health policy-making should be guided by human rights standards and aim at developing the capacity of those in positions of responsibility – for policy-making and delivery – to meet their obligations and empower rights-holders (the public) to effectively claim their rights.

Eliminating all forms of discrimination is at the core of a human rights–based approach, with a particular focus on gender equity in all policies. Human rights standards and principles, such as participation, equality, non-discrimination, transparency and accountability, should be integrated into all stages of policy-making and implementation.

The human rights principles and efforts to improve  health equity should be mutually reinforcing. The right to health complements the health equity concept by aiming for everyone to enjoy his or her full health potential. Moreover, the human rights principles of nondiscrimination and equality strengthen the conceptual foundation of health equity for the groups in society for whom inequities in health are related to wider vulnerability. "

Click here to download the 2nd Interim Report - Interim second report on social determinants of 
health and the health divide in the WHO European Region, WHO, 2011.

Click here to download the 1st Interim Report - Interim first report on social determinants of health and the health divide in the Regional Office for Europe WHO European Region


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