Health is a human right and a central element of well-being. Health is also an essential prerequisite for the achievement of our governmental goals.
One of our major concerns is to prolong the working life: to ensure that our youth enters work as soon as possible; that we have a healthy, motivated and capable workforce; and that even those close to retirement age maintain their ability to work. We have made major efforts across sectors to prevent social exclusion of young adults, to maintain the work capacity of those outside the workforce and to facilitate the attainment of employment. Health has an intrinsic link to the ability to work: it plays a core role in addressing poverty and social exclusion, and enhances our potential for economic growth and competitiveness. The other side of the coin must not be ignored: we need to ensure that there are employment opportunities for all and that employment conditions and workplaces promote health and prevent ill-health.
Most public policies have the potential to influence health and health equity, either positively or negatively, and many of our societal goals cannot be achieved without a healthy and well-educated population. Finland has a long tradition of working across administrative sectors, and structures and processes have been developed to accomplish this. Open and transparent policy-making is a foundation for good public policies and adequate resources for implementation and monitoring are essential. An educated and well-informed population forms a basis for functional democracy.
We need a good knowledge base to have evidence-informed policy-making. As regards the Health in All Policies, we need assistance from our Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, as well as the institutes subordinate to it, on how best to incorporate health considerations into policy-making in order to reach our goals as a whole, to enhance well-being, and to improve health and reduce inequity.