Health promotion

Book Webinar: Health in All Policies

All people have the same right to health

By: Raul Mercer MD MSc
Member, the Scientific Committee of the 8GCHP
Coordinator of the Program of Social Sciences and Health at FLACSO (
Researcher at Center for Research in Population Health (CISAP), Buenos Aires, Argentina

"One of the major contributions of the WHO Commission of Social Determinants of Health was that the existing gaps of health inequities can be significantly reduced with good and effective policies.

We do have the benefit of many ongoing experiences at the regional, national, state and local levels oriented to eliminate one of the worst pandemics that are affecting human kind: social exclusion and its consequences on the health and quality of well-being of the populations.

The 8th Global WHO Conference on Health Promotion brings health as a policy-driven matter, in our case, considering the role that each sector of the society has (both governmental and non-governmental) towards reaching a better standard of life of the populations under a rights-based perspective.

This approach implies that all the people along their life span (kids, adolescents, adults and elderly) have the same right to health, irrespective of their age, social condition, gender, culture, faith or any other social or personal attributes.

Based on the Social Determinants of Health approach, there is enough empirical evidence that the health sector itself is unable to assure health for all. This statement assumes more relevance in times were most the countries are concerned and trying to find alternatives for universal health coverage.

Why this Conference is relevant compared to other conferences of health?

There are many reasons that justify the need to promote a proactive involvement to this unique event:

  • New ways of policy-making processes will be shared, in our case, integrating science into the rationality of policy formulation.
  • Major understanding of the co-benefits in terms of health gains than can be reached through investing in other sectors beyond the health sector itself.
  • No corporate interests are affecting the essence of the Conference, in our case; the best interest of the society will be the main driving force.
  • The concept of HiAP cannot be understood in a room or through a paper, for this reason, participants will be exposed to a scenario constituted by the host country (Finland) as a holistic and real life experience.
  • Most of the health issues that are affecting modern societies (NCCD, premature deaths, and violence, among others) can be reduced through HiAP.

Finally, this Conference is a call for action to the governments to assume their responsibilities and be consistent with the agreements and treaties they have signed to assure, protect and fulfill the right to health".