Transformative Education
for Health Professionals

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Education and lifelong learning central to Health in All Policies approach

Education and lifelong learning central to Health in All Policies Approach

  Air pollution, New Dehli, India, September 2017, Photo Manu Mathur 

A recent Health in All Policies (HiAPs) Workshop focussing on air pollution and urban health and sustainability was held in Washington DC. The Amercian Association of Schools and Progams of Public Health produce a  short report of WHO-ASPPH-NEHA Workshop.

"The workshop also represents the first time that WHO took on the theme of air pollution in HiAP and it represented their first convening of academics and practitioners to address the educational challenges and opportunities in using HiAP. Twenty-three professionals – from health, working in public health or environmental sciences, and other disciplines across the globe joined the workshop to learn more about how to apply Health in All Policies approaches in both academic and practice settings".

ASPPH noted that the action developed by each participant and / or eductor - practitioner teams aimed to help them  apply social determinants of health and HiAP approaches to urban health problems, including air pollution, and/or, education and skills development.

Presenters also linked air pollution and climate change, emphasizing the need of systems thinking and working across sectors. While there is no international convention on air pollution, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set clear targets for reducing air pollution and its health impacts from household, urban, regional and transboundary sources (SDGs 3-Health, 7-Energy, 11- Sustainable Cities). Tackling Climate Change and Air Pollution is one of WHO’s top five global priorities for 2019-2023. World Health Assembly (WHA 2015) Resolution on Air Pollution and Health and subsequent Road Map for an Enhanced Global Response (WHA 2016) set forth a strategy for reducing air pollution health risks, including actions that mitigate climate change. 


 WHO infographic on climate change

The workshop outcomes will feed into a planned side session on education at the 1st Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, which ill be held in Genva this November, see conference concept note.

 Group work considered the complex challenges around air pollution and health, and need for systems thinking

WHO notes that "while many public policies contribute to health and health equity, improving population health is not the sole purpose of societies and their governments. A lack of policy coherence across government can result in one part of government supporting the implementation of national strategies (e.g. on malnutrition, or noncommunicable diseases) or international treaties (e.g. the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control), while other parts of the government promote trade, industrial development and initiatives that can be harmful to health and well-being.

To contribute to policy coherence across government in order to address the social determinants of health equity, the health sector needs to understand the imperatives of other sectors and form common understanding of health, its determinants and broader societal well-being or quality of life. This requires political will and innovative solutions and structures that build channels for dialogue and decision-making that work across traditional government policy siloes".

Air pollution is a growing global challenge - but tackling the issue provides us with a unique opportunity to mitigate climate change, support sustainable urban and rural development and gender equity, reduce poverty, and improve our health and wellbeing.

More WHO Air Pollution infographics

More information on:

  1. WHO Health in All Policies
  2. WHO Health in All Policies Training Manual 
  3. WHO National Health Workforce Accounts