UCL Grand Challenge of Global Health

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Tackling the Health Divide: From Western Europe to Eastern Europe and Central Asia

22 February 2012

There are major health inequalities within and between countries in the WHO European Region. The health divide across the WHO European Region refers to the gap of up to 20 years in life expectancy between countries in the eastern part of the region and countries in the west. Efforts to improve population health in countries must be based on an understanding of how health is created or undermined by political, social, economic and cultural processes – the social determinants of health.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot presents some of the evidence and emerging findings of the Review on the Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide in the European Region1, focusing specifically on social determinants of health in countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The approach taken emphasises influences on health across the life course from before birth, through early life and education, conditions of employment/unemployment, the physical and psychosocial environment, through to living conditions at older ages. Key themes include the effects of national political, economic and social transformation, and of transnational processes, including migration, on the way people live their lives.


Professor Sir Michael Marmot
Director, UCL International Institute of Society & Health, and MRC Research Professor in Epidemiology


Dr Christopher J Gerry
Senior Lecturer in Political Economy UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies


Professor Anthony Costello
Director, UCL Institute for Global Health

1 The Review on the Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide in the European Region was commissioned by the WHO Regional Director for Europe and is chaired by Professor Marmot. The review will report its findings and recommendations later this year.

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