Intersectoral action for health

Children riding bikes

Health and quality of life in cities are determined by a complex net of interrelated factors. For instance, risk factors for noncommunicable diseases include many social, environmental and economic aspects such as education, transportation, and employment. Such complexity means that measures to promote health and well-being cannot be confined to the health sector alone.

Intersectoral action for health refers to the inclusion of several sectors in addition to the health sector when designing and implementing public policies to improve quality of life. An important objective of intersectoral action is to achieve greater awareness of health and health equity consequences of policy decisions and organizational practice in different sectors and through this move in the direction of healthy public policy and practice across sectors.

Intersectoral action for health at local government level

Local governments can play a pivotal role in intersectoral action for health (ISA) as they often have direct influence over a wide range of urban health determinants in areas such as transportation, education and urban planning.
More evidence and practical guidance is still required in order to ensure that ISA can be effectively and sustainably carried out in cities. WKC has an ongoing project that studies ISA at local government level.

Publications on ISA case studies in local governments

In 2014, publications on ISA case studies in local governments conducted by WKC were published. The findings provide valuable insight into the common challenges and success factors for local governments to mobilize ISA for better health outcomes.


Intersectoral Action on Health

Guidance booklet for policy-makers

Hidden cities: Unmasking and overcoming health inequities in urban settings

Chapter 6. Urban governance for reducing health inequities

Uniting for health across sectors

Urbanization & health fact sheet


Presented at the 5th Alliance for Healthy Cities Global Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 24-27 October 2012.


Meetings on intersectoral action for health:

To help policy-makers implement and sustain effective intersectoral action and to identify mechanisms for promoting Intersectoral Action for Health, WKC invited a mix of public health practitioners, policy-makers and academics to gather in Kobe, Japan in June 2009 and again in Helsinki, Finland in September 2010 to exchange experiences with intersectoral action for health. A special consultation was held during the Global Forum on Urbanization and Health in Kobe on 15 November 2010 on a guide to ISA for policy-makers.

Contact us

World Health Organization Centre for Health Development
1-5-1 Wakinohama-Kaigandori
Chuo-ku, Kobe 651-0073
Telephone: (+81) 78-230-3100
Fax: (+81) 78-230-3178