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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Healthy public policy – time to revisit an old friend

The 1986 Ottawa Charter on Health Promotion was an initiation for many to the new language and fledging technology of health promotion.  28 years later it appears to be a stale old hat for some and for others raises hackles and invokes a defensive response.  Words like enabling have had their time in the limelight and faded.  Advocacy has been removed from legitimate discourse.  Yet there remains in the Charter a foundational culture which has thrived over the past three decades.

Two years after the Ottawa Charter, the second international conference on health promotion in Adelaide focused attention on the component of building healthy public policy.  Reviewing the conference proceedings remains relevant today Adeliade healthy public policy conference.  Interwoven into the proceedings were the sprouts of the discussions on inequalities and equity that were arising from the European Region of the WHO and the focus of the 5th conference in Mexico City in 2000.   Accountability surfaced as a major driver of health improvement in Adeliade and the seeds were sown for the 6th conference in 2005 in Bangkok on building partnerships. 

The policy discussion circled back for the 8th conference in Helsinki 2013 Statement for health in all policies.  Where Adelaide focused on the micropolicy issues with the basis that health must of course drive policy, Helsinki delegates recognized that health was often not adequately incorporated into the complexity of policy decisions. 

Have we spent 25 years of banging our heads in frustration?  If so why, and even if we did, what did we learn?

Fast forward to the establishment of the National Collaborating Centres.  One of which is dedicated to healthy public policy NCCHPP within INSPQ.  Given that Quebec is often ahead of the rest of the country it is perhaps fitting that the centre is housed in Montreal.   The wealth of resources are veritable goldmine although the introductory course comes with a price tag, the supporting documents that can be accessed on the site will help converge thinking around policy analysis, logic modelling, knowledge synthesis, impact assessment, economic evaluation, ethics, engaging democracies, advocacy and more.   

Spend a few minutes, hours or days combing through the site.  It does not win awards for usability but should win awards for the applicability of content. 

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