Tag Archives: social determinants of health

Vulnerability: An article for CMJI

From an article for a special issue of Christian Medical Journal of India on vulnerability published in December 2018 [Download issue here]

The word Vulnerability, like many other words in modern English, comes from late Latin vulnerābilis (wounding) or vulnus (wound), according to Webster’s dictionary. In its current use, the word carries a wider meaning beyond impending physical injury or harm, to include the risk of emotional or psychological trauma. It has been widely used in the context of natural disasters. Sudden and often unforeseen natural calamities put a lot of people at physical, socio-economic, political, psychological and emotional harm. However, vulnerability is not only about large populations and natural disasters; individuals or households too can experience vulnerability due to various psychosocial, familial or other life circumstances. In either case – be it individuals or populations – an experience of vulnerability is almost never exclusively due to the individual’s own choices. A large body of work from social sciences, as well as stories and narratives of people who have dealt with vulnerabilities in their life, demonstrates that this experience is almost never caused in isolation.  Continue reading

Primary health care and social determinants of health

Health, after all, is simply an everyday word that is used to designate the intensity with which individuals cope with their internal states and their environmental conditions

– Ivan  Illich in Medical Nemesis

In 2008, while releasing the final report of the WHO’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health, WHO Director Margaret Chan remarked

…social conditions in which people are born, live, and work are the single most important determinant of good health or ill health, of a long and productive life, or a short and miserable one.

While on one hand the importance of provision of good quality care through a Continue reading