‘Health in All Policies’—A Key Driver for Health and Well-Being in a Post-COVID-19 Pandemic World

Policy in all sectors affects health, through multiple pathways and determinants. Health in all policies (HiAP) is an approach that seeks to identify and influence the health and equity impacts of policy decisions, to enhance health benefits and avoid harm. This usually involves the use of health impact assessment or health lens analysis. There is growing international experience in these approaches, and some countries have cross-sectoral governance structures that prioritize the assessment of the policies that are most likely to affect health. The fundamental elements of HiAP are inter-sectoral collaboration, policy influence, and holistic consideration of the range of health determinants affected by a policy area or proposal. HiAP requires public health professionals to invest time to build partnerships and engage meaningfully with the sectors affecting the social determinants of health and health equity. With commitment, political will and tools such as the health impact assessment, it provides a powerful approach to integrated policymaking that promotes health, well-being, and equity. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the profile of public health and highlighted the links between health and other policy areas. This paper describes the rationale for, and principles underpinning, HiAP mechanisms, including HIA, experiences, challenges and opportunities for the future.

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Policy & Policy Analysis
Governance, Health in All Policies, Economy of Wellbeing, Health Impact Assessment, sustainable development
Finland, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom

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