Has intersectorality increased?

The issue

The first time the term ‘intersectoral’ pops up in the literature is in 1970 when a WHO report on environmental health argues that more than just the healthcare delivery sector needs to be involved in sanitation and water management. WHO takes the argument to the next level in 1978 when the Declaration of Alma Ata on Primary Health Care unequivocally states that intersectoral action is a sine qua non for good primary health development and delivery. A lot of rhetoric followed. Some of the founders of CHETRE, Liz Harris and Marilyn Wise, took on the challenge and wrote a report in 1995 outlining conditions for the establishment of intersectoral cooperation. The argument then went ballistic and eventually ended up in a call (8th Global Conference on Health Promotion, Helsinki, 2013) to develop Health in All Policies – and intersectorality seems to have proliferated accordingly, in guidebooks, scholarly reflection, and an increase in terminology to include intersectoral action, policy, governance, multisectoral cooperation, intersectoriality, partnerships, etc. etc. etc.

Did all this frenetic thinking actually result in more, and if so, better action, policy and governance for health?

The project

Develop parameters, and if possible implement, a critical review in a number of (to be determined) jurisdictions to document the degree of actual collaboration for health. This requires an analysis of policy documents, rather than an assessment of the scholarly and health sector rhetoric.

The output of the project would be (a) a research protocol and/or (b) one or more peer-reviewed publications.


Evelyne de Leeuw or Patrick Harris