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Cuba exemplifies a process of incorporating the focus of health promotion in the national system that was initiated at the time of the Revolution, and adapted to the perspective of the social determinants of health over time. It is a case of inter-sectoral work that has been institutionalized and is reflected in the Constitution, where all relevant actor, including community representatives, are summoned to collaborate on the design, implementation and monitoring of policies and programs.
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.
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.
A law that seeks a tobacco-free country, was the result of a hard negotiation process that mobilized the health sector in Suriname. From the beginning this sector knew it could not act alone . It is based on a collaborative effort with contributions from different sectors. It included lobbying with political leaders and the private sector, as well as a creating awareness and mobilizing citizens. The law was passed in 2013 with an absolute majority.
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.
In some schools in Havana, there are boys and girls who have classes that do not seem like classes, because there is no one dictating things but the narrative comes from the children experiencing and starring in them. In their classrooms children learn to use the" gender glasses" which help them to understand how they learn to be men or women, to play these roles, and how they can decide what to keep, discard or transform from that social inheritance. This program was initiated at the National School of Public Health in Cuba, which involves different disciplines and sectors, and includes faculty and families. This is the story of an action research project focusing on the Social Determinants of Health.