Reducing health inequalities and moving towards health equity requires concerted action on the social determinants of health. Yet despite a wealth of evidence showing associations between the social determinants of health and health inequalities, policy action to tackle inequalities has been limited. Advocacy is a key means of promoting favourable policy change though little was previously known about advocacy for health equity.
We define Advocacy for Health Equity as "a deliberate attempt to influence decision makers and other stakeholders to support or implement policies that contribute to improving health equity using evidence". This places emphasis on evidence of systematic differences in health between social groups.
The aim of this toolkit is to improve the effectiveness of advocacy efforts. Based on the findings of the WHO's Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, it concentrates on improving health equity through action on three of the most important aspects of everyone's lives: early childhood, employment, and income & social protection.
The toolkit is the result of work by EuroHealthNet, Business in the Community, Eurochild and the European Anti-Poverty Network as part of the DRIVERS project. It draws on the findings of an expert workshop, a systematic review of the academic and grey literature, interviews with experts and case studies carried out across Europe on current and past advocacy efforts.