Teresa Lavin and Owen Metcalfe, Institute of Public Health
01 Dec 2009
The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) is a partner in the European project DETERMINE, building on its previous involvement in the Closing the Gap project in 2004-2006.
DETERMINE is an EU Consortium for Action on the Socioeconomic Determinants of Health (SDH). The overall objective of DETERMINE is to achieve greater awareness and capacity amongst decision makers in all policy sectors to take health and health equity into consideration and to strengthen collaboration between health and other sectors.
DETERMINE consists of seven complementary but discrete work packages. This working document summarises the second year activities of work package 5. It explores if and how economic arguments are being used to support action at EU level and in 12 countries and regions across Europe. There are strong economic arguments for investing in health at population level and the benefits of reducing health inequalities are beginning to be recognised in economic terms.
Furthermore, the recent Communication from the European Commission Solidarity in Health: Reducing health inequalities in the EU is an indication of a focus on health inequalities at EU level. The evidence presented here paves the way for further exploration at EU and member state level to analyse in economic terms the health impacts of policies that address the social determinants of health.
Such work can help to provide further evidence to support the argument that targeted investment to address health inequalities by action on the social determinants of health is more cost effective than paying for the consequences of health inequalities.
In Year 2 the DETERMINE project focused on identifying and exploring economic arguments to support action on social determinants of health inequalities. Working document #4 ‘Economic arguments for addressing social determinants of health inequalities’ presents the findings.