Equity and Social Determinants

International Women’s Day 2018: Celebrating women’s leadership in health

How can we achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls? What does it mean to do so? What lessons have we learnt that can support progress towards this ambitious goal (Sustainable Development Goal 5) that nations of the world signed up to?

On International Women’s Day 2018, the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific approached women from different communities, age groups, occupations and positions throughout the region and asked them to share their experiences and stories of leadership and inspiration.

Advancing health through attention to gender, equity and human rights

Health programmes are increasingly recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach does not reach all population groups and in some cases, may even increase inequities. Attention to gender, equity and human rights can advance health and is crucial for long-lasting achievements. The question is “how”? How can we ensure that health policies and programmes consider the concerns and experiences of women, men, girls and boys from diverse groups?

A collection of 17 practices that explore the “how” of embedding these issues into the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health policies and programmes have been published in a new report on “Advancing health through attention to gender, equity and human rights”.

Addressing ageing and health in the Western Pacific

From 10-12 July 2017 the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific brought together representatives from Member States, experts and partners in Manila, Philippines to review progress and lessons learned in the implementation of the “Regional Framework for Action on Ageing and Health in the Western Pacific (2014-2019)” and to agree upon next steps.

Globally, the proportion of people older than 60 is growing faster than any other age group. The increase is especially rapid in middle-income countries. Ensuring older persons have access to health and long-term care services that are of adequate quality is an important part of the global agenda to promote universal health coverage, and a key target of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainable Development Goals: Catalysing action for health and development

In October 2016, Member States endorsed the “Regional Action Agenda on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the Western Pacific”. The Regional Action Agenda is intended to guide Member States as they consider the implications of the SDGs for national plans and priorities and set their own strategic goals and targets. It presents a menu of options and strategies that the health sectors in Member States may consider for achieving the SDGs.

Gender-based violence: a public health priority

Globally, one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. Such violence is rooted in gender inequality and results in multiple physical, mental, sexual, reproductive and other health problems. Gender-based violence isn't only an issue for survivors, but for us all as human beings. Tackling gender-based violence requires everyone to work together – government sectors, civil society, men, women, families and communities.

The WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific is raising awareness for this critical issue through its ongoing campaign: "Human Together".

Human Rights Day 2017: Non-discrimination is core to universal health coverage

10 December is Human Rights Day. In 2017 the day will highlight non-discrimination as core to achieving universal health coverage and the sustainable development goals.

Discrimination can come in many forms – through health laws and policies or through their implementation – and stem from a variety of factors such as cultural, social, gender and ethnic background and context. Because the root of discrimination is often multi-faceted, tackling discrimination requires a comprehensive approach. One needs to take a look at the sociocultural factors that keep people from receiving health services to effectively address discrimination. Critical areas for action include: exploring the attitudes and skills of doctors and nurses in delivering safe and compassionate care; as well as system-wide actions to ensure that laws, policies and practices do not discriminate against individuals or population groups.

fact buffet

Ageing and health

235 million older people live in the Western Pacific Region

More on ageing


400 millionpeople globally lack access to essential health services

More on equity


Gendercan lead to inequities in both health status and access to care

More on gender

Gender-based violence

1 in 3women globally have experienced violence by an intimate partner

More on gender-based violence

Social determinants of health

1052children under the age of five in the Region die every day, many from avoidable causes linked to social determinants

More on social determinants of health

Human rights

1948the year WHO's constitution laid out the right to health

More on human rights

Sustainable Development Goals

17Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to ensure that no-one is left behind

More on sustainable development goals


1 billionwomen and men, boys and girls are migrants in the world today

More on migration

Equity and Social Determinants
P.O. Box 2932
United Nations Avenue
1000 Manila
Telephone: (+63 2) 528 8001
Email: wproesd@who.int