The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that it would launch a new, high-level Commission on Equity and Health Inequalities in the Region of the Americas.
The announcement followed a two-day event that focused on the non-health-related socioeconomic factors that impact health outcomes. Program participants discussed the impact of gender, ethnicity, legal status and socioeconomic status on health, finding that all are correlated to poor health and high rates of injury and mortality across the American continent.
“The Commission on Equity and Health Inequalities in the Americas presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the fundamental causes of health inequalities in this region,” University College London Institute of Health Equity Director Sir Michael Marmot said. “There is no biological reason why these inequalities exist. The fact that they do is a matter of social injustice. This commission brings together the expertise required to address them properly and sustainably.”
The commission will serve to research how social factors impact health in the Americas, and will make new, actionable recommendations on how to reduce the health equity gap. Marmot will chair the commission, which is expected to take approximately two years of research to understand and support new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Region of the Americas.