Are there particular social determinants of health for the world's poorest countries?

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African Health Sciences


Background: The task of improving Social and Economic Determinants of Health (SEDH) imposes a significant challenge to health policy makers in both rich and poor countries. In recent years, while there has been increasing research interest and evidence on the workings of SEDHs, the vast majority of studies on this issue are from developed countries and emphasizes specific concerns of the developed nations of the world. Importantly, they may not fully explain the underlying causal factors and pathways of health inequality in the world's poorest countries. Objective: To explore whether there are specific social determinants of health in the world's poorest countries, and if so, how they could be better identified and researched in Africa in order to promote and support the effort that is currently being made for realizing a better health for all. Methods: Extensive literature review of existing papers on the social and economic determinants of health. Conclusion: Most of the existing studies on the social and economic determinants of health studies may not well provide adequate explanation on the historical and contemporary realties of SEDHs in the world's poorest countries. As these factors vary from one country to another, it becomes necessary to understand country-specific conditions and design appropriate policies that take due cognisance of these country-specific circumstances. Therefore, to support the global effort to close gaps in health disparities, further research is needed in the world's poorest countries, especially on African social determinants of health.

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