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.
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.
In Pernambuco , Brazil, they have woven a strong network that involves leaders from the government, university and the community . Everyone collaborates by providing: courses, dissemination, volunteering, and specific plans to make municipalities a healthy experience. Everyone works as a network by meeting, coordinating and acting together. The goal is to develop health equity, social justice, cooperation and the preception of happiness.
This experience of Florianopolis, Brazil, shows two core development sectors acting in a coordinated manner and with oa focus on Social Determinants of Health. On the one hand, the educational sector, modifying the school curricula to longitudinally address health issues such as drug abuse, violence, culture of peace, and healthy eating, among others. And on the other hand, the health sector, training educators and school communities as health promoters.
A law that seeks a tobacco-free country, was the result of a hard negotiation process that mobilized the health sector in Suriname. From the beginning this sector knew it could not act alone . It is based on a collaborative effort with contributions from different sectors. It included lobbying with political leaders and the private sector, as well as a creating awareness and mobilizing citizens. The law was passed in 2013 with an absolute majority.
In Bolivia , a Life Point is a mobile tent located in a public place . Anyone can come and learn to prevent the risks of contracting non communicable diseases . The program began in La Paz and has spread to all nine departments of Bolivia . The initiative was started by a civic organization that has achieved to mobilize certain government sectors. The long queues in front of the tents speak of the warm reception that citizens have given to the project.