Introducing public health
Introducing public health

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Introducing public health

7 Partnerships between sectors

As stated in Section 4, the wide range of influences on our health means that promotion of public health is not just confined to the health sector alone. Instead, partnership is needed across sectors. An approach to creating public policies that holds this value is ‘Health in All Policies’ (HiAP). In the activity below you will explore what is meant by this concept more.

Activity 7: A definition of HiAP

Timing: Allow 45 minutes

With growing interest in population health among researchers, policy makers, the media and the general public, a large quantity of information has become available, and visual representations of information (infographics) are becoming increasingly popular.

  • a.Consider the infographic ‘What is health in all policies’ [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Based on this infographic, note down in the word document provided what you think is meant by the term ‘health in all policies’.
  • b.Using your preferred search engine, search for information on ‘health in all policies’. Based on your further reading of the definitions/information on ‘HiAP’, how well do you think the infographic in Part A communicates what HiAP is and why it is important?

Discussion

You may have noted that the infographic contains key principles of HiAP, such as:

  • Health is influenced by areas outside the control of the health sector.
  • The need for intersectoral working to tackle health issues.
  • The role of the health sector in putting health on the agenda of other sectors.

After reading a bit more about health in all policies, you may have noted that there were certain ideas and principles that may not have been clear in the infographic, such as:

  • HiAP also recognises that health can have an impact on key policy areas (e.g. the economy) and this is one reason why it should be a goal for other sectors.
  • HiAP is not just about improving population health, it is also about reducing health inequity (avoidable differences in health between groups).
  • HiAP is about policy; different sectors should consider the potential negative impacts of their decisions, but also how they can be made health enhancing.

You may have noted that infographics are useful in generating interest in an area, such as this infographic which displays information very visually and through the use of a clear example. This is good for use by the general public, however it does not contain detailed information that may be of use for people like you, who are interested in more detail on the topic.

HiAP is high on the agenda of current public health activity, but there has been many barriers to implementing and achieving its vision. For example, institutions (such as government departments) have very rigid ways of working and don’t often ‘speak to each other’. In addition, there is still a tendency to see health as only the concern of the health and social care sector, when, as we have seen, it is ‘everybody’s business’. Given the current and emerging public health challenges, public health requires greater multisector-working to create a health promoting social context.

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