WHO: Is it enough to treat illnesses without addressing the reasons that cause them?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

By Dr Erica Wheeler, WHO Department of Health Workforce and Julian Fisher, WHO eBook Coordinating Editor

Is it sufficient to treat an illness without knowing and addressing the conditions that cause or contribute to individuals becoming sick in the first place?

We are witnessing growing inequity, increased competition for scarce natural resources and a financial crisis that threatens basic entitlements to health services and health care. Health outcomes of individuals, families, communities and society are increasingly influenced by sectors (such as education, housing and transport) that lie outside the control of health sector, but which significantly impact those health outcomes.

It is no longer sufficient to focus solely on clinical encounters that seek to treat disease and ill-health. Health workers must adopt a people-centred approach to care, one that is focused and organized around their health needs and expectations, their neighborhoods, but also recognizes the crucial role patients must play in shaping health policy and health services.

WHO is embracing the use of technology and social media to implement global transformative education for the complex and interconnected challenges of the 21st century.

Social factors in health and children playing

Launch of an eBook

WHO is launching an ambitious and transformational eBook on the social determinants of health. It aims to equip future health workers with the competencies to identify, develop and implement solutions to the complex challenges that they encounter each day and reduce health inequalities, through actions on the social determinants of health. People-centred care is at the heart of both the design and implementation of the eBook. 

IAPO is on the WHO eBook editorial board and is a pro-active partner in its agile development, as well as the accompanying communication outreach. More details of how you can engage in this project will follow, but in the meantime, join us at the transformative education website, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


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