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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111

Abstract

ALDASORO, Elena et al. Moving forward in health impact assessment: analysis of the non-health public policies of the Basque Government (Spain) as step prior to systematic screening. Gac Sanit [online]. 2012, vol.26, n.1, pp. 83-90. ISSN 0213-9111.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0213-91112012000100016.

Health not only depends on biologic or lifestyle factors but also on other economic, social, political, and environmental factors that shape the way people live and become ill. Thus, health policies are not the only policies affecting health, and consequently governments are increasingly interested in identifying the effect of other non-health policies on health. Health impact assessment is a prospective methodology that aims to predict the health impacts of policies before their implementation so that modifications can be suggested to maximize positive effects and avoid unexpected negative repercussions on health. The first stage in this process is screening, which can be used to select the interventions that could benefit from complete health impact assessment. Since resources are limited and not all government interventions can be assessed, tools that allow prioritization are essential. As a first stage in the validation of a systematic screening tool for health impact assessment in Spain, this article presents the process of compiling and classifying the non-health public policies of the eighth term of office of the Basque Government. Of the 97 policies analyzed, 76% were related to structural determinants of health inequalities, 79% were tactical or operational, 67% were aimed at specific population groups, and 66% were already implemented. The technical staff of other participating departments perceived the entire process of this initiative and its rationale positively. This initial experience allowed the planning of non-health policies in the Basque Country to be determined in detail as a means to move forward in incorporating impact on health in all policies.

Keywords : Social determinants of health; Health impact assessment; Social inequalities in health; Screening.

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