The Belfast Health Development Unit (BHDU) is made up of staff from Belfast City Council, the Public Health Agency and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. It was established by the Chief Executives from these organisations and officially launched by the Minister for Health, in March 2010.
This followed on from the review and re-structuring of health services across the region, where it was recognised that closer working relationships been health, local authorities and other agencies, had a significant role to play in addressing health.
In advance of the introduction of Community Planning, BHDU worked to provide support to the Belfast Strategic Partnership’s (BSP) focus on the life inequalities and more recently have supported the transition of this work into the Belfast Agenda.
Work undertaken by the BHDU has included the establishment and ongoing support to a wide range of working groups; the development of integrated strategies and plans, which incorporate agreed collective actions and contributions from various organisations across the city; the creation of new evidence and research on the key issues which impact on inequalities; and the establishment of a series of grant funded programmes to support local communities and people to test solutions to the difficult challenges they face.
As we move forward in pursuit of the vision set out within the Belfast Agenda, it is essential we take more collaborative action to address the deep and persistent health inequalities within the city. If we are to be successful in narrowing the gap in health inequalities, greater focus needs to be placed on a population health approach focusing on the prevention and early intervention of health inequalities. In doing this we need to consider the wider determinants of health such as physical activity levels and healthy eating; social and emotional support and wellbeing; learning; education; working conditions; alcohol and drug use and healthy ageing.
Currently BHDU staff deliver on actions linked to these determinants of our health:
- Active Belfast
- Emotional Resilience
- Lifelong Learning
- Alcohol and drugs
- Healthy ageing and Age-Friendly Belfast