Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 38 (3):470-485 (2010)

On August 28, 2008, Michael Marmot, Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, formally handed over the Commission’s Final Report to Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. It was a significant moment. Dr. Chan addressed a hall packed with representatives of the world’s communications media in a speech that was remarkably direct. Dr. Chan reiterated the Commission’s position that to improve health and health equity action needs to be taken not just across the health sector but across all social and economic policy areas, and stated, “Social deprivation is not a matter of fate. It is a marker of policy failure.” This was a bold statement from one of the world’s leading diplomats. Policy failure! The phrase echoes the Commission’s assertion that “a toxic combination of poor social policies, unfair economic arrangements and bad politics is killing people on a grand scale.” The Commission’s messages are far reaching.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1748-720x.2010.00506.x
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