Determinants of Health

​Health is of great social and economic value and contributes to sustainable development and peaceful societies. High quality health systems and care are essential to the health of the population. However, social, economic and environmental factors should also be taken into account, as they greatly influence people’s health. Indeed, it is estimated that these factors account for up to 60% of our health.Investments in controlling for risk factors such as environmental pollution, climate change, nutrition, water, migration or poverty yields socio-economic return for societies due to enhanced economic productivity of population groups and lower health care spending.
In consequence, the projects conducted by SDC promote cooperation and coordination between different areas (water, agriculture, education, etc.) to influence these 'determinants of health' (DoH). Through its work, the SDC aims at promoting behavioural change and ensuring that even the poorest can exercise their right to health.

To this end, the SDC works closely with other departments and federal offices, such as the Human Security Department (AMS), the Department of Sectoral Foreign Policies of the FDFA (ASA), the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).


As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Switzerland has committed to improving health for all at all stages of life. Its aim is to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) and a coordinated approach to the social, economic, cultural and environmental determinants of health. The conditions under which people are born, grow up and work have a big impact on their health. The SDC therefore pursues a multisectoral approach and supports health cooperation with other sectors, such as the environment, water and/or sanitation and food-security.