Cities have a great influence on the health and wellbeing of their inhabitants. The social determinants affecting health at an urban level, both those linked to the governance of the city, and those which involve the physical and socio-economic dimensions of the surroundings, combine to make up a range of healthcare opportunities. That is to say that the urban segregation which can give rise to social inequality in the area of healthcare, can become a truly decisive factor.
Bilbao's City Hall, and specifically its Department of Health and Consumer Issues, is conscious of the relevance any action it takes has for the population of the city. To this end, it set as one of the priorities for the 2015-2019 mandate, the creation and launch of the first Bilbao Healthcare Plan. This plan's main goal is to increase the wellbeing of the city's inhabitants, and to reduce health-based social inequality.
The conception and drawing-up of the plan involved what was considered to be a vital diagnosis of the current health of the population and the social determiners regarding healthcare at an urban level, from the focal point of neighbourhoods and districts, as well as of the city as a whole. The objective of this diagnosis was not only to quantify and describe the principal health indicators and social healthcare determiners, but also to identify the cities healthcare needs and assets, and the main areas where different social agents felt that changes were called for.
This led to the following two-part diagnosis of the state of Bilbao's health:
-A quantitative diagnosis, based on measurable indicators of healthcare and the social determiners of the population's health, which were analysed at different geographical levels (neighbourhood, district, municipality, comparisons with other Integrated Healthcare Organisations (OSI) and between other Basque capitals).
-A participative diagnosis, carried out using qualitative research techniques in order to find out the perception of the healthcare needs and assets of the city and its neighbourhoods from healthcare professionals, other professionals working in neighbourhood social welfare, neighbourhood associations, the tertiary sector and the neighbours themselves. The perspective of this diagnosis included a more subjective, local vision of what healthcare implies and what determining factors are involved, as well as the most relevant barriers and facilitators operating in each neighbourhood and across the city and affecting the picture as a whole.
Using data from the quantitative diagnosis, an online tool has been designed which allows the figures to be understood in a simple and dynamic way.
To see the tool, click here.