Health promotion

Track 4: Partnerships and intersectoral action

7th Global Conference on Health Promotion: track themes

The health of populations is determined not by health sector activities alone but by social and economic factors, and hence by the policies and actions beyond the mandate of the health sector. It is thus important for the health sector to work in collaboration with other sectors to raise awareness of the co-benefits of acting together for people-centered policies that promote health.

A 'whole of government' approach to health works closely with other sectors such as finance, education, agriculture, environment, housing and transport to examine how their policies can help achieve their own objective while also improving health. Such intersectoral collaboration could in some cases, lead to reduction of adverse consequences such as in containing air pollution, or actively promote health such as in policies for promoting access to quality education or gender equality. This approach was a fundamental tenet of the Alma Ata Declaration, and is one the four pillars of Primary Health Care as laid out in WHO's 2008 World Health Report. It also forms a basic premise of the recommendations of the Commission on the Social Determinants of Health.

This track at the conference will explore practical aspects of achieving such intersectoral collaboration and partnerships. While tools have been successfully developed to analyse the health impact of public policies, the conference will discuss how meaningful partnerships can be struck across sectors and which are based on common objectives and joint ownership. What are the entry points at national level for strategic and operational discussions? How can capacity for collaborative action be ensured and credible partnerships created? How can partnerships be struck at all levels from local to global, governmental to private? These are some of the questions that will be examined at the Conference.

Healthy city Marikina

The Bicycle Friendly City, Marikina City, Philippines

The City of Marikina was one of the pilot healthy cities set up in the Philippines in 1998. The city adopted the following initiatives in response to endemic dengue:

1. Riverside clean up by government workers and community volunteers; 2. squatter resettlement through a community mortgage programme; 3. enforcement of zoning regulations and clean up of public market; 4. waste management programme, with materials recovery facility, garbage collection, and anti-littering laws; 5. healthy lifestyle education in schools; 6. incentives to encourage full payment of taxes;
7. volunteer programme for urban infrastructure projects run also as a model for human resources development for the urban poor.

As a result of multiple, synergistic interventions, dengue rates among residents dropped significantly. Additionally, there is now universal water and sanitation.

Marikina has won awards and attracted attention from other municipalities for its healthy marketplaces, schools, and workplaces, as well as its approach to public safety, human resources development, local tourism and health services.

(Source: WHO, 2009, Mainstreaming Health Promotion, draft of technical document in development for the Global conference on health promotion)


1. WHO World Health Report, (2008) Primary Health Care: Now more than ever
2. Stahl, T., Wismar, M., Ollila, E., Lahtinen, E., Leppo, K., (2006) Health-in-all-policies: prospects and potentials
3. Final report of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health, 2008, Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health