Inequalities are interpreted and understood in different ways by sectors and agencies in Belfast.
A wide range of work is currently being undertaken across the city to tackle poverty, life and health inequalities.
On Thursday 26 February a workshop, jointly hosted by Belfast Healthy Cities and Belfast Strategic Partnership, focused on the tasks of agreeing a definition of inequalities and initiating the development of a tool to support organisations to assess the impact of their policies and practice on inequalities and poverty.
While there has been general improvement in health, not everyone has been able to avail fully of the benefits of this progress. Life expectancy of the population of Belfast varies across the city and is lower in more deprived areas. Evidence also shows that inequalities based on race, disability, age, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity can interact in complex ways with socioeconomic position in shaping people’s health. Learning from other WHO European Healthy Cities suggests that a strategic interagency approach is the best way to understand and address this complexity.
The workshop which was facilitated by World Health Organization Expert Adviser and Health Impact Assessment Specialist, Erica Ison, featured contributions from Mary Black, Assistant Director Public Health (Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement), Public Health Agency and Penny Gruffydd, Sustainable Development Unit, City & County of Swansea.
The WHO European Healthy City of Swansea has successfully implemented an Integrated Impact Assessment Screening Tool, which supports multidisciplinary groups with responsibility for addressing health inequalities to align their activities at a local level with the values of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network in order to maximise their impact.
Tackling Health Inequalities Together Mary Black, Public Health Agency
Working Together for a Better Swansea Penny Gruffydd, City and County of Swansea
Inequalities and Poverty: Developing a framework for a tool to assess action Erica Ison, WHO Expert Advisor