EMRO - Social Determinants of Health

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World Health Organization 62nd session of the Regional Committee for Eastern Mediterranean October 5th – October 9th, 2015 / Kuwait City, Kuwait

Statement of International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations on: Social Determinants of Health Honorable health leaders, The International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA) welcomes and applauds the large efforts made by the WHO and the member states towards Social Determinants of Health. Reaffirming that the poor health of the poor, the social gradient in health within countries, and the marked health inequities between countries are caused by the unequal distribution of power, income, goods and services, globally and nationally, the consequent unfairness in the immediate, visible circumstances of people’s lives – their access to healthcare, schools, and education, their conditions of work and leisure, their homes, communities, towns, or cities – and their chances of leading a flourishing life. This unequal distribution of healthdamaging experiences is not in any sense a ‘natural’ phenomenon but is the result of a toxic combination of poor social policies and programs, unfair economic arrangements, and bad politics. Together, the structural determinants and conditions of daily life constitute the social determinants of health and are responsible for a major part of health inequities between and within countries. To achieve universal health coverage, the social determinants of health must be tackled appropriately. The Social Determinants of Health include the social, political, cultural and environmental factors, which influence individual and group differences in health status. These health determinants are recognized as the major barrier to health equity. We, IFMSA, highly appreciate the engagement of the member states of the region in this issue and applaud the efforts to review and improve the health systems of your countries. Yet, there is still much to be done. IFMSA calls the member states to address the social determinants of health and strive to correct inequalities, support research for improving health systems. Furthermore, “health in all policies” approach to tackling the issues would bring great benefits while reaching out for universal health coverage. Thank you for your attention! Ahmed Reda IFMSA Regional Director for Eastern Mediterranean 2015/2016 rdemr@ifmsa.org / www.ifmsa.org

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