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.
Since the mid 1990s, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, presented a persistent increase in traffic accidents. In 2010, the Ministry of Health proposed " Life in Traffic ", an intersectoral strategy that developed a Local Action Plan. By having joint collaboration and coordination with other sectors, it coordinated actions in raising awareness through education, outreach, plans and policies. Strong evidence supports the effectiveness of this program.
The Haitian Ministry of Health spearheaded the Strategy to Promote Health and Quality of Life in the Fight against Cholera in Haiti with support from the international community. This program grew out of the destruction and health challenges caused by the 2010 earthquake that devastated the island. An example of intersectoral action at the information sharing and cooperation levels, this strategy provides education and training to promote public awareness and community participation and empowerment to control the epidemic.
In Pernambuco , Brazil, they have woven a strong network that involves leaders from the government, university and the community . Everyone collaborates by providing: courses, dissemination, volunteering, and specific plans to make municipalities a healthy experience. Everyone works as a network by meeting, coordinating and acting together. The goal is to develop health equity, social justice, cooperation and the preception of happiness.
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.
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.
Since 2003, by presidential decree, Brazil created the National Commission for Implementation of the Convention for Tobacco Control (CONICQ). The Commission comprises 18 areas of government acting together; for example: Finance develops tax policy, and combats the illegal tobacco market; Justice elaborates materials on illicit drugs; Agrarian Development, carries out a national program to promote crop area diversification, among other actions. Different sectors are working together for Health in All Policies (HiAP).