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Today, 18 October, the EFPC secretariat provided a response to the WHO Health in All policy approach endorsed by its' members.
European Forum for Primary Care (EFPC) response on the draft Health in All Policies Definition for the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion
As a membership organization, the European Forum for Primary Care (EFPC) aims at strengthening primary care in Europe, emphasizing community orientation and interprofessional approach as outstanding features of primary care. As an essential bridge between cure and care activities and public health, strong primary care both provides health care to individuals and contributes to public health including surveillance. The Primary Care professional, who brings the best of integrative medicine with a holistic approach is a most needed guide in our complex health care systems.
EFPC applauds the initiative to develop a Health in All Policies Definition for the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion, as an energizing policy framework that reframes approaches, identifies new policy avenues and describes the key governance changes that are needed to improve accountability for population health and health equity.
For the implementation paragraph the EFPC agrees to focus on practical governance instruments and analytical tools.
For the paragraph on the role of health sector, the EFPC proposes two extra requirements to be added to this working definition as these are crucial for the functioning of Community Oriented Primary Care in achieving Health in All:
It requires a community orientation which can only be obtained by embedding health facilities within the community (be it onsite- or in future online- communities).
It requires leadership skills not only to manage and control implementation but also to advocate for change.
Background of the consultation
The focus of the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion (Helsinki 2013) is on how to promote health and well-being by implementing the Health in All Policies approach. In lead-up to the Conference, a Conference working definition on the Health in All Policies approach is being proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO). In support of this process, WHO is holding a web-based consultation from 8-19 October 2012, to gather opinion on the proposed Conference working definition of the Health in All Policies approach. The consultation is being run by the Health Promotion and Social Determinants of Health Units of WHO.
The web-based consultation is being undertaken, through the social determinants of health platform, Action:SDH, which is administered by WHO with the help of partners. The proposed working definition has been posted on this web platform along with a set of explanatory contextualizing paragraphs.
A proposed working definition for the 8th global conference on health promotion in Helsinki, Finland
Health in All Policies is a systemic and sustained approach to taking into account the impacts of public policies on health determinants and health systems across sectors, at the levels the decisions are made, in political, legislative and administrative processes, in order to realize health-related rights and to improve accountability for population health and health equity.
The Health in All Policies approach is feasible and practical. Practical governance instruments and analytical tools are available. When brought together strategically and systematically, they can be used to implement a Health in All Policies approach. Governance instruments include and parliamentary and cabinet intersectoral committees, interdepartmental committees, budgetary analyses, and tools for public participation for public, civil society organizations, private sector and media. Analytical tools include different policy impact assessment tools, such as health impact assessment, health lenses, and health equity analysis guidance.
Role of health sector
Health in All Policies calls for participation of all actors of the society. The health sector is not accountable for other sectors’ decisions, but it is accountable for advocating for, and contributing to, the implementation of the Health in All Policies approach. This role requires knowledge on determinants of health, health outcomes, health systems functioning and their distribution aspects on the one hand, and the potential effects of policies across sectors on those, on the other. It requires skills to prioritize and strategically think through the key health concerns in relation to other sectors and the ability to understand their agendas and priorities. It requires abilities in reaching out to other sectors to facilitate intersectoral dialogue and in contributing to intersectoral activities led by other sectors.