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.
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.
The Zero Hunger Pact in Guatemala and its implementation in the municipality of Tajamulco, is a good example of how a national policy can be adopted and implemented locally through intersectoral cooperation. The Pact intervenes in the social determinants that generate malnutrition and inequality, improving access to food and nutrition of children in the municipalities and most vulnerable populations .
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.
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.
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.
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.