Addressing inequities in child health and development – towards social justice - ISSOP Policy Recommendations: International Society of Social Paediatrics (ISSOP) Policy recommendations

Nick Spencer, Shanti Raman, Bernadette Ann-Marie O'Hare, Giorgio Tamburlini

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


Executive Summary
Inequities, socially unjust inequalities, have a profound impact on the health and development of children across the world. Inequities are greatest in the world’s poorest countries; however, even in the richest nations, poorer children have poorer health and developmental outcomes. From birth through early childhood to adolescence, mortality, acute and chronic illness, and poor growth and development are socially patterned such that the most disadvantaged have the highest risk and the most advantaged the lowest risk. Inequities arise where children are deprived of the essential determinants of health and development such as clean water, adequate nutrition, access to education and affordable healthcare. Inequities in childhood have an impact across the whole life-course.
Policies and interventions that promote equity
Whitehead identifies four categories of actions to promote equity: strengthening individuals;
strengthening communities; improving living and working conditions; and promoting healthy macro policies.
Countries that have successfully reduced inequities have enacted policies and interventions
across these categories scaling them up to fundamentally change systems. Good evidence from successful initiatives that inequities can be reduced exists but political will is needed to enact them.
Recommendations ISSOP calls on governments, policy-makers and paediatricians and child health professionals and
their organisations to act to reduce child health inequity as an urgent public health priority. We recommend:
Governments: act to reduce child poverty which is detrimental to health and well-being across the life course; ensure that the rights of ALL children, to healthcare, education and social protection are fully protected; ensure basic determinants of health such as adequate nutrition, education, clean water and sanitation are available to ALL children
Paediatric and Child Health Professional Organisations: ensure their members and constituent bodies are made aware of the impact of inequities on the health and well-being of children
and across the life course; include global child health inequities in programmes and curriculums for students and professionals in training; publish policy statements relevant to their country highlighting the impact of inequities on child health and well-being; advocate for evidence-based pro-equity interventions with policymakers using a child rights perspective; advocate for affordable, accessible healthcare for all children in their country;
promote data collection and policy-focused research to monitor inequity in their child populations.
Individual paediatricians and child health professionals: be aware of the impact of social determinants of health on children under their care; within the constraints of their country’s health
services, work to ensure their clinical services or practices are accessible and acceptable to all children and families; collect and utilise data on their local population’s health and well-being;
promote undergraduate and postgraduate experiential learning on the social determinants of health; engage in advocacy at a community and national level.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages50
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2018


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