Three American Cities Awarded for their Achievements in Public Health
The Summit of the Alliance of Healthy Cities was the setting in which the efforts of a Canadian and two Latin American cities to become healthy environments through projects that can be replicated in other latitudes were recognized.
LatinAmerican Post | Julián Andrés Pastrana Cuéllar
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Leer en español: Tres ciudades de América premiadas por sus logros en salud pública
On February 15, the first Summit of the Healthy Cities Alliance was held in London, an event during which the cities of Montevideo (Uruguay), Mexico City (Mexico) and Vancouver (Canada) were awarded for their notable progress in the eradication of factors that trigger the so-called non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Said event brought together representatives of more than 50 cities around the world in order to put on the table the best initiatives to promote the transformation of urban centers into healthy cities, this with the ultimate goal of guaranteeing well-being, good management of public health and the very survival of the people.
This important space for discussion and analysis arises from the Alliance of Healthy Cities, a project that brings together more than 70 urban centers throughout the globe, and which was born in 2017 with the purpose of promoting proposals for political or programmatic intervention that help mitigate NCDs. The initiative is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), Vital Strategies and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the latter organization whose founder is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In this regard, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) recalls that most of the Earth's inhabitants live in urban settlements, which is why it is urgent to guarantee their health and well-being. It should also be borne in mind that around 80% of all deaths that occur in the world are caused by NCDs, which include heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular accidents, diabetes, and cancer.
Along with the three cities in America, Athens (Greece) and Bengaluru (India) were also awarded. Each one will receive 150,000 dollars to consolidate their projects that benefit the public health of their inhabitants. Here, the Uruguayan, Mexican, and Canadian initiatives will be explained.
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Healthier food in public entities in Uruguay
As outlined on the website of the Municipality of Montevideo, since 2022 the capital of Uruguay has been running the Healthy Canteens program with the support and guidance of the Alliance of Healthy Cities. With this innovative idea, it is sought that the spaces with gastronomic offer that operate in public entities adhere to healthy nutritional standards. So far in March, two of these healthy canteens have been inaugurated in public institutions in Montevideo.
The delegation from the Uruguayan capital, headed by Mayor Carolina Cosse, received said award, which accredits the progress of this city in the management of non-communicable diseases and the promotion of healthier environments. Advances of great relevance for a country like Uruguay, where two out of three individuals are overweight and obese, and where 25.4% of deaths are caused by cardiovascular diseases.
Sustainable mobility in Mexico City
According to the Head of Government of Mexico City, Claudia Scheinbaum, this capital of 8.8 million inhabitants stood out for its integrated mobility strategy, consisting of the execution of public policies and projects such as the Ciclovía Insurgentes and safe environments schools that have made it possible to put safer mobility alternatives within the reach of people.
The Insurgentes bike path is an exclusive lane for bicycles that extends for 28.5 kilometers in order to counteract crowding in semi-mass transportation systems, as well as to strengthen the coexistence between mass public transportation, non-motorized transportation, and use transportation individual. The installation of this bicycle lane on a high-traffic road increased the number of cyclists by 275%, which has undoubtedly had an impact on the mitigation of NCDs triggering factors such as obesity, air pollution, etc.
Vancouver, a healthier city
Vancouver was the other American city that was awarded thanks to its efforts to make its public health data more easily accessible and include all its inhabitants. This has been possible after the implementation of an online device that has contributed to monitoring the health indicators of the population. Joint work with urban indigenous communities in order to improve data management has also been key in consolidating this purpose.
These recognitions not only reward the efforts of government entities in order to promote healthier spaces for people, but they are also an example to be followed by other cities around the world.