Hong Kong has the longest life expectancy in the world. Yet it has huge wealth inequalities as reflected in the high Gini Coefficient and inequalities in which people live, work and age. These inequalities are expected to drive health inequalities although in Hong Kong and other Asian countries these socio-economic inequalities have not resulted in reduced average life expectancy. Are there ameliorating factors that are cultural/social/physical environmental in nature, or are health inequalities merely not documented, and that increase in life expectancy is occurring at the expense of rising levels of dependency?
In collaboration with UCL IHE, CUHK IHE will conduct a review of health equity in Hong Kong which will focus on understanding health inequalities and the underlying driving force. In-depth topics will be identified and examined in subsequent reports.
The Institute will also develop effective measurement and monitoring frameworks and support development of appropriate data systems and indicators to monitor inequities in health and social determinants. The indicators will be appropriate for the whole region and for local areas. For more details about the situation of Hong Kong, please see here.
Health Equity means fair opportunity to live a long, healthy life. Inequities in health are not inevitable or necessary; they are unjust and are the product of unfair social, economic and political arrangements. A visual diagram of the difference with equality is shown below.
Social Determinants of Health
Social determinants of health (SDH) is a term used to describe the social and environmental conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age, which shape and drive health outcomes. Factors that determine how the SDH conditions are experienced across societies include the distribution of power, money and resources. Unfair distribution creates avoidable health inequalities, known as ‘health inequities’. Therefore, social, economic, and environmental factors, as well as political and cultural factors, constitute the ‘social determinants of health’.