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.
Ecuador established the National Plan for Good Living as a way to plan and generate actions. The Plan permeated the entire state structure, integrating Health, Education, Labor and Social Inclusion sectors , among others. It created opportunities for citizen participation, from the national to the local level with a focus on rights. The plan has its own resources and it has Presidential and legislative support. It is a clear example of intersectoral action to build sustainable development.
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.
The law of Social Prevention of Violence and Crime was issued by the State of Chihuahua, Mexico in 2010. It is an example of intersectoral cooperation implemented at a regional level. The most important aspect of this case is that the State System of Public Safety took leadership and handles criminal situations from a public health perspective, going beyond the criminal approach.
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 experience of Boca de Mao in the Dominican Republic is a local example that shows how the Health In All Policies (HiAP) approach may be present at a smaller scale. It showcases the level of coordination between a strong community organization that presents and manages its demands, and a holistic and coordinated response from various government sectors. The experience focuses its efforts on raising awareness through education and moving towards concrete actions on issues that concern the environment, food safety, health monitoring and nutrition.
The Intersectoral Health Commission of El Salvador is a space for horizontal dialogue where different sectors define health priorities. The sectors make recommendations and each focuses its decisions and resources to develop actions that affect the Social Determinants of Health and promote health equity.