The COVID-19 pandemic and health inequalities

This paper was written by Clare Bambra, Professor of Public Health at Newcastle University and CHAIN researcher. It addresses the implications of COVID-19 on health inequalities.

While COVID-19 has affected public health worldwide and disrupted normal life, health outcomes after infection differ based on socioeconomic, ethnic and geographical factors. Although it has put renewed focus towards the deep-rooted inequalities in our societies, inequalities in health outcomes are not unique to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to historical and contemporary evidence of international research, the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 and the H1N1 outbreak of 2009 saw similar inequalities.

The paper argues that we are currently experiencing a syndemic of COVID-19, chronic diseases, and inequalities in social determinants of health, resulting in inequalities in infection and mortality rates, exacerbating existing chronic diseases and social conditions in disadvantaged communities. Additionally, the potential consequences of COVID-19 policy responses and austerity measures to counter the probable post-pandemic slump will likely be long-term and of significant impact for health inequalities because of their effect on political and economic pathways. Ultimately, for the COVID-19 pandemic not to increase health inequalities for future generations, the right public policy responses must be taken

Find the study here.

CHAIN and EuroHealthNet published an infographic based on this paper. Find that infographic here.

More information about CHAIN, the Centre for Global Health Inequalities Research is available on its website.

Communicable diseases, Financial security, social protection, social inclusion, access to care, poverty, Groups that experience vulnerability: women, ethnic minorities, LGBTI+, migrants, disability, Health systems and services, primary health care, integrated systems, prevention services, health workforce, Non-communicable diseases, alcohol, nutrition, obesity, cancer, smoking, physical activity
European, National

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