Tackling health inequities
A WHO report calls for global action to ensure health equity within and between countries, write George Davey Smith and Nancy Krieger
- By: George Davey Smith, Nancy Krieger
Finally, an official report on health inequity has been published that has the honesty and courage to say that “social injustice is killing people on a grand scale.”1 The report of the World Health Organization's Commission on Social Determinants of Health synthesises evidence from a large and disparate range of sources, while recognising that what constitutes evidence is itself contested and not value free.2 It presents a wealth of data to show the unquestionable link between economic, social, and bodily wellbeing'within and across countries. In the case of life expectancy, these embodied facts of social inequity3 can span the equivalent of a lifetime: women born in Botswana can anticipate living an average of 43 years, half that of the 86 years for women in Japan; between the poorest and most affluent parts of Glasgow life expectancy in men ranges from 54 to 82 years.
Many official reports have documented social