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.
In 2013 the Chilean Ministry of Health studied the experiences developed since 1998 with the Communal Plans for Health Promotion. The careful review of the evidence gave rise to the Healthy Municipalities, Cities, and Communities strategy. New focus was put on the municipalities that are leading on the territorial participatory assessments, with strategic plans for the next three years and that are strengthening the ability of its people to understand and act on their context. This allows finding solutions to territorial problems using local resources and capabilities, strengthening intersectorial action and at the national level. The local - community - national dialogue is one of the strengths of the strategy, because the policies, actions, and decisions are not going in different directions, but are in constant dialogue with each other.
In 2012, Medellin set out to transform itself into a healthy city. It assessed its past, reevaluating the achievements and developments of previous administrations. It studied its present, joining efforts with the University of Antioquia, assessing the challenges and possibilities of a healthy model for the city. And the city began to build its vision by joining citizens, their organizations and the private sector. These efforts have allowed that in the recent four years the city has invested its resources and efforts to improve its surroundings where people can either gain or lose health by acting on key determinants such as the environment, employment, education, housing and poverty. Since then the Ministry of Health not only runs the programs it is responsible for, it also coordinates and supports all of the health generating structure of the city.
In Mexico, the numbers of overweight and obese people are increasing every year, as well as the diseases associated to these conditions . To meet this challenge, a National Agreement for Healthy Nutrition was proposed. Different sectors promote food regulation, changing the family diet and creating awareness of eating habits, and increasing physical activity. Each sector has a specific agenda that is coordinated with the rest.
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 Bolivia , a Life Point is a mobile tent located in a public place . Anyone can come and learn to prevent the risks of contracting non communicable diseases . The program began in La Paz and has spread to all nine departments of Bolivia . The initiative was started by a civic organization that has achieved to mobilize certain government sectors. The long queues in front of the tents speak of the warm reception that citizens have given to the project.
The CONSATUR experience in the Dominican Republic was born in 1998 motivated by the need to bring together two engines of national development: Tourism and Health of its inhabitants and of those who visit. They have gradually been shifting from specific coordination actions to consolidate a space of alliance seeking a common goal: to create favorable conditions for health of people and to foster tourism as an important economic activity. It is a good example of practices previous to the HiAP initiative, since back then it was incorporating already many of its criteria.