men, masculinities and gender politics

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Review of Ireland's national men's health policy

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Ireland was the first country in the world to adopt a national men’s health policy (followed by Australia and Brazil). Given the relatively recent emergence of ‘men’s health’ as an important public health issue, the Irish government’s recognition of the need to address it at the strategic policy level was clearly a very far-sighted and significant step and has been widely recognised as such.
The Review found that further work in the field of gender-specific policy and practice is needed if progress in improving the health outcomes of men and boys is to be maintained. There is now a widely-shared view among men’s health researchers and advocates around the world that health policies and practices that take account of sex and gender differences are more likely to lead to improvements in outcomes. Many also take the view that dedicated national men’s health policies can achieve additional improvements.
There was a consensus among those consulted during the course of the Review that, overall, the National Men’s Health Policy constituted a significant and far-reaching contribution to making the issue of men’s health more prominent and providing a framework for action. However, its impact was stronger in some areas of activity than others and very weak in some. Key areas of difficulty in implementation were inter-Departmental collaboration, funding, and the sheer number and scope of the specific policy recommendations and action points (there were 118 action points in total).
The Review found very strong support for the continuation of a dedicated national policy on men’s health in Ireland and most men’s health advocates, as well as government officials and others, also took the view that men’s health must be addressed within the government’s comprehensive Healthy Ireland public health policy. The Review contains recommendations for action that would enable Ireland to continue its leadership in this field by being the first to mainstream men’s health throughout its wider approach to improving public health.
See below for the report.
Citation: Baker, P. (2015), Review of the National Men’s Health Policy and Action Plan 2008-13. Final report for the Health Service Executive. Dublin: Health Service Executive/Department of Health.

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