For over twenty years, the Healthy
Municipality Initiative has been a powerful strategy of
participatory health promotion at the local level in Latin
America. The movement arose from the need to effectively
address the economic, social, and political determinants
of health. The focus is on empowering and mobilizing the
local level to improve the health of communities. The
movement implies the support of local government in the
establishment of healthy public policies, active community
participation, the creation of supportive environments,
the reorientation of health services, and the promotion of
To be considered as healthy, a municipality, city or
community must go beyond attaining certain levels of
health indicators to continually create and improve the
physical and social environments and expand community
resources to help people to support each other in
developing to their maximum potential.
The strategy strives to attain healthy communities by:
Securing local government commitment by the mayor and
local councilors to build a healthier community.
Facilitating intersectoral collaboration whereby business,
religious organizations, social services, planners, and
environmental groups come together with residents to form
a common vision and shared work plan for a healthy
Promoting the development of public policies that have a
positive effect on the health of people.
Fostering community participation where community groups,
organizations join together in the identification of
health needs and in designing and implementing the action
to be taken.
Giving visibility to health through advocacy and health
Establishing sustainable mechanisms for supporting
What makes healthy municipalities special?. They:
Focus on health and development rather than problems and
Work toward providing a clean and safe physical
Maximize human and financial resources to address
Foster innovative alliances and partnerships for health.
Involve the community in local government.
Develop collective community spirit and action.
Celebrate historical and cultural heritage.