Health Impact Assessment (HIA)

Barriers cited to using HIA in Government policy making

Lack of relevant skills and expertise

Contact your local WHO regional office for people in your area who are undertaking HIA. Develop skills by taking part in training and reading more information on this site.

Lack of awareness and understanding

Use the why use hia section to pick factors most suited to your organisation/sector and use these in awareness raising activity. Send people to this website for a quick introduction. Download the short guides and provide them. Send people on training.

Lack of resources

This applies to every area of work. If priority is placed on HIA, resources will follow. Using rapid appraisal techniques, and only doing a ‘desk-top HIA’ – where community consultation does not occur, are other ways to undertake an HIA when resources are limited. Making use of information and evidence from already completed HIAs is also useful.

No recognised tools or methods

See tools and methods for a counter argument to this, and see the database for tools

Lack of political support

Use the why use hia section to pick factors most suited to your organisation/sector and use these in awareness raising activity. Use completed HIAs from the database to show how HIA has been used in other countries/organisations.

Lack of time

HIA does take time, but its worth it. HIAs can be done in a short space of time, but rapid HIAs still need a concentrated time commitment from people. A question that needs asking is ‘‘What are the possible consequences of not doing an HIA, particularly if problems surface later, and will ‘a lack of time’ be a suitable defence if the policy is challenged publicly or legally’’. If an HIA is not undertaken, the proposal runs the risk of time lost at a later date.

Other priorities get in the way

Use the ‘why use hia’ section to pick factors most suited to your organisation/sector and use these in awareness raising activity. Use completed HIAs from the database to show how HIA has been used in other countries/organisations.

Not convinced of benefits

The anecdotal benefits of HIA are considerable, and the evaluated benefits are now being shown. How many tasks are you doing that have a sound evidence base that they work – most don’t. HIA does.

Gaps in the evidence base

There are gaps, but the use of the best available evidence is better than not using any evidence at all. HIA draws on the best available evidence and summaries are being done to draw evidences together

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