Social inclusion and health equity for vulnerable groups

The Social Exclusion Knowledge Network of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health defines social exclusion as consisting of dynamic, multidimensional processes driven by unequal power relationships interacting across four main dimensions – economic, political, social and cultural – and at different levels including individual, household, group, community, country and global.

It results in a continuum of inclusion/exclusion characterized by unequal access to resources, capabilities and rights, which leads to health inequities. In this definition, “resources” refers to the “means” that can be used to meet human needs and “capabilities” to the relative power people have to use the resources available to them. This definition of social exclusion focuses on multifactorial relational processes driving differential exclusion.

The Regional Committee resolution EUR/RC52/R7 on poverty and health and the World Health Assembly resolutions WHA62.14 on reducing health inequities, WHA62.12 on strengthening primary health care and WHA 61.17 on migrant health, further reiterate WHO’s work to support Member States in tackling health inequities linked to multidimensional social exclusion and poverty.