A central theme of the conference is ‘leave no one behind’, a soaring rhetoric that, in its broadest sense, means ensuring that targets and indicators will not be considered met unless they have been met for every person around the globe. In responding to this goal, the conference presents several sessions and discussion centering around what tools the global community and SDG actors need to ensure they have innovative approaches to accomplish their mission.
During the 2011 World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health was adopted. The declaration expressed a global political commitment for the implementation of a social determinants of health (SDH) approach to reduce health inequities. Social determinants of health are defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the conditions in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age. These conditions influence a person’s opportunity to be healthy, risk of illness and life expectancy. Social inequities in health – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status across groups in society – are those that result from the uneven distribution of social determinants. All of these drive health inequity – systematic disparities in health between social groups who have different levels of underlying social advantage or disadvantage such as food, shelter, clean water, sanitation, proper clothing and have limited access to medical care, education and finance.
Video: Dr Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – use of data to visualize social determinants of health across the globe.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to address inequalities with an objective of “reaching the unreachable”. As mobile technology becomes more affordable, more powerful, and more accessible in low-income regions, it presents even more opportunity for governments to achieve these goals, even more so in public health.