Health in all Policies

As defined by WHO, Health in All Policies is an approach to public policies across sectors that systematically takes into account the health and health systems implications of decisions, seeks synergies, and avoids harmful health impacts, in order to improve population health and health equity.

A HiAP approach is founded on health-related rights and obligations. It emphasizes the consequences of public policies on health determinants, and aims to improve the accountability of policy-makers for health impacts at all levels of policy-making. It emphasizes the consequences of public policies on health determinants, and aims to improve the accountability of policy-makers for health impacts at all levels of policy-making.

Public policies can make a major difference for health and health equity by creating healthy environments which also facilitate healthy choices. Thus, public policies dealing with (for example) water and sanitation, education, social services, built and natural environments, agricultural and industrial production, trade, regulation, revenue collection and allocation of public resources have important ramifications for population health and health equity.

The goal of HiAP is to improve population health, health equity and the context in which health systems function by amending public policy-making across sectors in order to achieve the most favourable impacts.

HiAP focuses on policy-making and is therefore concerned with the development and implementation of legislation, norms, standards, major strategies, programmes and decisions on resource collection and allocation, among others. The HiAP approach per se is also applicable for project work.

In practice it is usually also necessary to prioritize efforts and to seek synergies to enhance health and other important societal goals. It is important to seek to ensure that harmful impacts on health, health equity and health systems functioning of policies across sectors are avoided whenever possible.

The Health in All Policies resolution was approved at the 67th World Health Assembly of the World Health Organisation in Geneva. The resolution is based on the final document of the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion held in Helsinki in June 2013.

Tobacco control presents an area where Health in All Policies approach can be perfectly implemented.

Read more about the basics of the Health in All Policies approach here.