1.6 Summary

In Study Session 1, you have learned that:

  1. It is not just biological conditions and access to health care that affects children’s health. Social determinants of health are the economic and social conditions that influence individual and group differences in health status.
  2. Social conditions in which people live have a dramatic impact on their health. Circumstances such as poverty, poor schooling, food insecurity, exclusion, social discrimination, bad housing conditions, and deficient sanitation in early childhood and poor occupational skills in adulthood can all result in health inequalities between children.
  3. Social justice means that the rights of all people in the community are considered in a fair and equitable manner. The four principles of social justice – equity, access, participation and rights – must all be promoted at all levels of the community. Failure to address social justice leads to health inequities. And in turn, this leads to the failure to realise children’s rights to health as well as to other rights.
  4. Responsibility for addressing the social determinants of health that lead to health inequities lies at all levels of society – families, communities, local and national government and the international community.
  5. There is action you can take as a health worker to address health inequalities: for example, community health outreach to increase awareness of health inequities, ensuring non-discrimination in service provision, and taking account of social determinants when treating children.

1.5 Taking action to address the social determinants of health

1.7 Self-assessment questions