The Commission for Equity in Health is to submit proposals that can help to reduce health inequalities in society. The commission’s primary focus will be the health inequalities between various socioeconomic groups in society and between men and women.
The basis for the Commission’s remit is the Government’s goal to close the avoidable health gaps within one generation. The Commission has a broad welfare perspective and adopts a cross-sectoral approach in its analyses and proposals.
The Commission will consider universal as well as more targeted policies that can contribute to a reduction of health inequalities. In its work, the Commission will take particular account of relevant results and experiences from similar local and regional initiatives in Sweden, as well as the findings from previous national and international Commissions.
The proposals will cover a short, medium and long term perspective, and will be directed to state as well as to and local government and other relevant actors in society.
Public health in Sweden is developing in a positive direction for the population as a whole. Most people can expect to live both a longer and healthier life than in previous generations.
However, good health is not evenly distributed among the population, which largely has to do with the fact that people live under different socioeconomic conditions. For example, the remaining life expectancy at age 30 is five years shorter among both women and men with a short education than among women and men with a long education. Moreover, the disparities have widened over the past decades.
Even in areas such as mental health, ability to work a full working life, dental health, obesity and general health the socioeconomic differences are apparent. Alongside health inequalities between different socioeconomic groups there are also inequalities other dimensions, such as gender, disability and ethnicity.
Health inequalities are closely linked to people’s position in society and their opportunities for participation and influence, which are in turn affected by factors such as level of education and income, as well as labor market participation. There is also a close link between health and welfare in a general sense, as good living conditions are prerequisites for good health in the population.
The Commission strives to have an outward looking and inclusive approach. The Commission is assisted by a number of dialogue groups with representatives of political parties and relevant stakeholders in society.
The Commission also consults with other stakeholders affected by the mandate, including government agencies and representatives of the local government sector.
Moreover, the Commission consults with local and regional initiatives for health equity in order to promote synergy between similar initiatives at various levels.
The Commission will continuously present results and recommendations to the Government and submit a final report to the government on 17 May 2017.