On October 8, 2019, WHO released its 2018 report on the Right to Health in the occupied Palestinian territory. In addition to the focus on access to health care and attacks on medical facilities and health personnel, the report also emphasized the underlying determinants of health as not only social or cultural, but also economic, civil and political. The report stressed the point that health inequities are ‘systematic differences in health outcomes resulting from the political, economic and social conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.’ This signaled an important development in the framework used to understand health as elaborated in WHO’s 2008 report ‘Closing the Gap in a Generation’. The 2008 WHO report emphasized the social determinants of health and stopped short of addressing the political determinants of health, that is, the causes of causes. In the context of the occupied Palestinian territory, and elsewhere in the region and beyond, it is the political determinants of health such as wars, conflicts, bio-politics, distribution of power and money (including class and patriarchy), global market forces, global and country specific policies and internal conflict and factionalism, which determine the social determinants of health.

Read the full report here.


Professor Rita Giacaman