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 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 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.
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 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 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.
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.