Health in All Policies (HiAP)

A whole-government system approach to tackle health inequities

Poor and unequal living conditions are the consequence of poor social policies and programmes, unfair economic arrangements and bad politics. Action to influence the social determinants of health must therefore come from both within and outside the health sector. It involves the whole of government, civil society and local communities, business, global fora and international agencies. Policies and programmes have to embrace all the key sectors of society, not just the health sector.

Nevertheless, the minister of health and the supporting ministry are critical to global change. They can champion a social determinants of health approach at the highest level of society; they can demonstrate effectiveness through good practice; and they can support other ministries in creating policies that promote health equity. This role is referred to in the Tallinn Charter on strengthening health systems as the health system “stewardship” function.