Health sector role

Health advocacy - looking beyond treatment and prevention

The role of the health care sector in enhancing HiAP varies from country to country. Without clear responsibilities, health  professionals may tend to consider their role as being mainly downstream, in the curative services, or at best in disease prevention and health promotion activities within the premises of the health services.

The real challenge in Health in All Policies is to make other sectors aware of the health impact that their policy making has on health outcomes, capacities to stay healthy and for health system organisation, regulation and financing. Where interests are mutual this is often easy, but where there are conflicting interests, this can require thorough preparation and background work within the health sector.

The health sector’s role is to advocate for health and be an active partner in intersectoral co-operation. This means actively using and developing any of several mechanisms that serve as tools for HiAP, including intersectoral actions, policy briefings, policy committees, health reports, policy dialogues, case studies etc.

Health sector taking the lead

HiAP is unlikely to be realised without a critical mass of expertise, resources and presence within the health sector. It is unlikely that policy-makers or administration in other sectors will be able to understand health and the health policy implications of their policies, if these are not properly understood within the health sector. It is thus the responsibility and obligation of the health sector to ensure that it has the expertise and capacity to articulate and take up health and health policy implications with other sectors.