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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.