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Transforming Ottawa Charter health promotion concepts into Swedish public health policy

Transforming Ottawa Charter health promotion concepts into Swedish public health policy

Promotion and Education 14(4): 244-249

Swedish public health policy clearly illustrates how the concept of the Ottawa Charter for health promotion can be utilized at a national level. The impact has been more implicit than explicit. Public health has a long history in Sweden and much of the present and future is, and will be, linked to traditional values and structures. International input, however, has been essential to prompt new approaches and change. Health inequalities remain the major shortcoming. The Swedish system offers universal access to healthcare in a decentralized system. Still, primary healthcare, and the health services as a whole have not yet sufficiently embraced the idea of health promotion. Political attention to modern public health at the Prime Minister level was established in late 1980s. Since, continuous initiatives in terms of organization, infrastructure and funding have taken place. With regard to funding, a vast majority of the resources allocated to health promotion will be found outside the health sector. An interesting observation is that the Swedish public health policy with its 11 objective domains remains the same, also after a change of government. Future challenges include maintaining and developing an intersectoral mechanism for implementation, allocating more resources for intervention research to strengthen knowledge-based health promotion, and developing tools for coping better with the challenges of globalisation identified in the Bangkok Charter.

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