The Social Determinants of Infectious Diseases

Social Determinants

and Health

Infectious diseases and health outcomes are largely determined by social factors, including access to basic needs, equitable healthcare and the ability to prevent and control infection. In the context of global health, “the social determinants of infectious diseases and health” can be understood as the effect of politics and economics on individuals, populations and communities in the spread and control of infectious diseases.

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Access to Basic Needs

One of the most important factors in determining health outcomes is whether or not people have access to basic needs such as clean water, nutritious food and proper sanitation. Unsanitary living conditions and poor dietary choices can increase the risk of infections and diseases. Access to basic needs also helps build bodies and immune systems strong enough to fight off illnesses.

Healthcare Access

The ability to seek medical care is also a strong determinant of infectious disease and health outcomes. People who do not have access to quality healthcare are at a higher risk of falling ill and succumbing to infectious diseases. This is especially true for vulnerable populations such as those living in poverty, Indigenous populations, refugees and migrants.

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Prevention and Control

Finally, the ability to prevent infection and control the spread of disease is another social determinant of infectious diseases and health. Governments and communities need to invest in public health initiatives such as immunisation campaigns, community awareness programs and infection prevention protocols.


Understanding and responding to the social determinants of infectious diseases is essential to reducing the burden of infectious diseases on individuals and communities. Access to basic needs, equitable healthcare access and the ability to prevent and control infections all play an important role in reducing the spread and severity of infectious diseases.

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