Health Inequities in the South-East Asia Region
Selected Country Case Studies
Poor people encounter high rates of illness and premature deaths from preventable causes and are thus more vulnerable to disease. In the WHO South-East Asia Region, many Member countries carry a significant proportion of the total burden of disease in the Region. Available evidence indicates that inequalities in social and economic determinants of health exist both within and across countries in the Region. The less educated, marginalized, women, children and the elderly living in rural areas and urban slums carry a conspicuous burden of disease.
This report is a compilation of data analysis from seven countries of the SEA Region; namely, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The analysis has been conducted concurrently with the work of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH). The analysis reveals a strong association between a wide gamut of social and economic inequalities and health inequities. It shows how health inequities relate not only to immediate material or psychosocial circumstances of the individual but also to structural factors, including government social welfare policies, quality of governance and other issues such as the power and clout that an individual wields in society. Ultimately, addressing inequities in health requires a social justice approach to improve the circumstances of the poor.