1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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International Journal of Health Policy and Management: Review on "Health in All Policies: Seizing Opportunities, Implementing Policies".

5 Nov 2014

This article is a review of the book “Health in All Policies: Seizing opportunities, implementing policies” edited by Kimmo Leppo, Eeva Ollila, Sebastián Peña, Matthias Wismar, and Sarah Cook. This book (printed and online publication) was published by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland in 2013. The main features, structure, and highlighted contents of the book are briefly sketched out in this review.

The book promotes understanding of a Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach, the history, and the scientific evidence of effectiveness available to apply the HiAP concept in order to overcome challenges faced by policy-makers. HiAP is a relatively novel approach which arises from the traditional idea that health is not only medicine. The book offers lessons to policy-makers and managers on how to apply the HiAP approach. It further highlights the health sector’s role in developing healthy public policies. In addition, the book provides examples of structures to foster collaboration, coherence, and participation among stakeholders from different government portfolios and responsibilities. The book further provides invaluable insights for politicians, researchers, and civil society advocates.

The striking feature of the book is its emphasis on the HiAP in the context of the dynamic and non-linear nature of the policy-making process and the importance of seizing windows of opportunity that may arise from changing economic, social, and political realities. It emphasizes a global perspective on improving health and health equity by adding a HiAP lens for decision-making and implementation. As such, readers will find case studies from across the globe demonstrating how a HiAP approach works in different settings. Opportunities for action may be seized effectively only when backed up by a long-term vision and health strategies arising from the knowledge of public health and the policy context.
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