Social determinants

Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age. These conditions influence a person’s opportunity to be healthy, his/her risk of illness and life expectancy. Social inequities in health – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status across groups in society – are those that result from the uneven distribution of social determinants.

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Access to medicines discussed during visit of Portuguese Minister of Health

Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe, applauded the intersectoral work that Portugal is already undertaking to address health inequalities and the social determinants of health, including efforts at the local level and through civil society.


WHO/Europe aims to provide an evidence-based, systematic and accountable approach to the full integration of the social and economic determinants of health into the development strategies of countries in the WHO European Region.

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In countries

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