Topic: Cross-sectoral public health work in rural municipalities
Keywords: Public health, rural municipalities, cross-sectoral organization
Even if the municipalities in Norway vary widely in terms of geography, demography and organization, they all have to adhere to the same national guidelines and laws. This also applies to the Public Health Act, which was introduced in 2012 and is one of the most important policy instruments for dealing with environmental, social and structural factors that affect public health in Norway. The main responsibility for implementing public health measures is placed at regional and local level, and it involves all sectors in the municipalities. The extreme variation in size, geography, competence and resources among the municipalities in Norway results in different ways of operationalizing The Public Health Act. In 2016 the Office of the Auditor General concluded in their investigation that the lack of anchoring public health work across sectors in a municipality is the largest barrier to succeed with public health work.
This presentation will look at how rural municipalities work across sectors with public health. It is based on the Program for public health work in Trøndelag which is a national initiative, Trøndelag county is the program owner, while the municipalities themselves are local project owners. Most of the municipalities participating in the program are from rural areas. The overall goal of the program is to integrate mental health and drug preventive work among children and young people into in the municipalities in a way that strengthens the systematic and knowledge-based public health work. Some of the activity in this program is to map the cross-sectoral public health work in municipalities participating in this program. Through this mapping we hope to gain better research-based knowledge about how the organization of public health work in different kind of municipalities can prevent and promote implementation and give desired effects of public health measures with a special focus on the rural municipalities challenges. We will talk to 3-4 carefully selected people from approx. 15 municipalities who are familiar with the cross-sectoral public health work. We will do a mix of personal interviews and telephone interviews. When the conference is held we will be in the middle of this data collection, and the presentation will provide preliminary findings in addition to presenting the Public Health Program.