The world health report

Chapter 4

Public policies for the public’s health

Public policies in the health sector, together with those in other sectors, have a huge potential to secure the health of communities. They represent an important complement to universal coverage and service delivery reforms. Unfortunately, in most societies, this potential is largely untapped and failures to effectively engage other sectors are widespread. Looking ahead at the diverse range of challenges associated with the growing importance of ageing, urbanization and the social determinants of health, there is, without question, a need for a greater capacity to seize this potential. That is why a drive for better public policies – the theme of this chapter – forms a third pillar supporting the move towards PHC, along with universal coverage and primary care.

In this chapter

  • The importance of effective public policies for health
  • System policies that are aligned with PHC goals
  • Public-health policies
  • Towards health in all policies
  • Understanding the under-investment
  • Opportunities for better public policies