Entry points for addressing socially determined health inequities

Across European countries a range of actions are already in place to address social determinants of health to reduce health inequities. These tend to fall into three main categories:

  • remedying health
  • addressing health gaps
  • the gradient approach.

These entry points require policies, incentives, implementing mechanisms and monitoring to be effective and to have a sustainable impact on the reduction of health inequities.

These are not mutually exclusive and can build on each other. The choice of action or their combination varies from country to country depending on political ideology, history and culture, magnitude and past trends in health inequities, governance arrangements, institutional and civic capacity, and developmental conditions. However, it is generally agreed that monitoring and analysis of absolute and relative levels of health are needed to provide a clear picture of health and its distribution across society, and to assess policy impacts on health equity.