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.
Bolsa Familia is a Brazilian government program that originated from the legislative and executive powers. It serves families in extreme poverty by increasing their human capital and improving their development opportunities through cash transfers and by increasing access to public services and food, among other actions. It assumes an intense inter-sectoral coordination and shows good results in child nutrition, lower fertility rates, improved maternal education and a higher purchasing power.
In 2008 Rio de Janeiro received two important and contrasting news: it was selected as the host of the Olympic Games in 2016 and it appeared as the Brazilian city with the worst health indicators. The Municipal Government decided to link the two facts and intends to organize the Olympics where the main legacy that is left for its citizenship is a reform of Primary Health Care (APS) that benefits the development of competition as well as improving and dignifying life for the citizens of Rio. They have gone from coverage in APS of 150 thousand people in 2008, to 2.5 million people in 2012 , nearly 40 % of its target population. An example of an international sports event that was used as a motivation to produce results in Health with an equity approach.
PLANAL is an experience in Paraguay where a government and its citizens work together to respond with holisticpolicies and actions to fight the main causes of food insecurity. It is a global governance strategy to improve the efficiency of State action. In this case a strong intersectoral coordination seeks to overcome the fragmented efforts and reverse the unequal distribution of resources.
Since 2003, by presidential decree, Brazil created the National Commission for Implementation of the Convention for Tobacco Control (CONICQ). The Commission comprises 18 areas of government acting together; for example: Finance develops tax policy, and combats the illegal tobacco market; Justice elaborates materials on illicit drugs; Agrarian Development, carries out a national program to promote crop area diversification, among other actions. Different sectors are working together for Health in All Policies (HiAP).
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.
When classes end, the children in Costa Rica go to school stores to buy food. The Ministries of Health and Education saw the daily need for food and drinks as an opportunity to promote healthy eating habits and proposed regulating which products are sold in school stores. In the midst of a national debate led by the food industry, the decree was finally passed. The importance of health was proven to be more important than the economic interests of corporations.