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.
This experience is an example of local development and health in the communities of the Guarani in the Bolivian Chacoregion. The program approaches reality with a focus on the social determinants of health . It focuses on the coordination of national, subnational and local levels, as a strategy to improve the health of vulnerable people. The results are positive as the program manages to aid this specific population with its particular challenges and opportunities.
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.
The experience of Boca de Mao in the Dominican Republic is a local example that shows how the Health In All Policies (HiAP) approach may be present at a smaller scale. It showcases the level of coordination between a strong community organization that presents and manages its demands, and a holistic and coordinated response from various government sectors. The experience focuses its efforts on raising awareness through education and moving towards concrete actions on issues that concern the environment, food safety, health monitoring and nutrition.
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 Porto Alegre , Brazil, an example of intersectoral information exchange has been launched through a community radio microphone. The radio program " In the Radio Waves " talks and raises awareness about health and its promotion . Speakers have a dialogue with the audience on how to empower themselves to achieve a better quality of life and to learn about disease prevention. This is a case study of community organization, in collaboration with different institutions.
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.