Health in all policies is an initiative of the World Health Organization that seeks to ensure that the public decision-making process, regardless of the sector in which it takes place, improves health conditions and access to health services. It was framed in the Nordic countries and has found an echo throughout the world. In the Americas, there is a very rich diversity of experiences of Health in All Policies. This site showcases some of these stories and demonstrates how this continent has taken ownership of this initiative.
This experience of Florianopolis, Brazil, shows two core development sectors acting in a coordinated manner and with oa focus on Social Determinants of Health. On the one hand, the educational sector, modifying the school curricula to longitudinally address health issues such as drug abuse, violence, culture of peace, and healthy eating, among others. And on the other hand, the health sector, training educators and school communities as health promoters.
The Special Act to Regulate Tobacco in Honduras , has been active since 2011. This act regulates the production, distribution , marketing, import, consumption and advertising of tobacco. It was the result of an intense and intersectoral negotiation process to design it, promote it at the legislative level for its adoption as a policy, and subsequent coordination to familiarize citizens with it.
Bolsa Familia is a Brazilian government program that originated from the legislative and executive powers. It serves families in extreme poverty by increasing their human capital and improving their development opportunities through cash transfers and by increasing access to public services and food, among other actions. It assumes an intense inter-sectoral coordination and shows good results in child nutrition, lower fertility rates, improved maternal education and a higher purchasing power.
A family living in poverty and vulnerability faces the risk of nurturing its children inadequately. A wide inter-sectoral response led by Health and Education was successful in providing this children in Costa Rica with holistic care as well as nutrition and education services. Working mothers are also given the support they need to succeed. This is an example of inter-sectoral coordination in the presence of a social determinant of health.
After hosting the sub-region first Health in All Policies (HiAP) training, the government of Suriname requested support from PAHO and immediately moved towards implementation of the HiAP approach for addressing the social determinants of health. A dedicated team has worked under the leadership of the Ministry of Health on the sub-region first Quick Assessment of Social Determinants of Health to understand the underlying causes of major health problems and associated health inequities. This participatory and intersectoral process lasting six months has left Suriname organized and motivated, with 8 areas of specific action. These will make sure that the responsibility of the health of the population is not only a matter for the Ministry of health, but shared with other sectors, including eight Ministries working closely with non -governmental and community organizations, the private sector, academia and the entire civil society. The experience started in 2015.
A joint-effort between those responsible for preventing sexual and domestic violence and those caring for their victims was key for the work done in Campinas, in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil . The coordination was made possible when domestic violence was considered a public health issue, not only a concern for the police force. Today the care for victims is quick and protective; education on this topic increases awareness by teaching people how to identify cases of violence, and to aid in the prevention and reporting of cases when they occur.