Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

EDITORIAL COMMENTARY
Year
: 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 301--302

Improving urban health standards: Promotion of equity and development of healthier cities for sustainable development


Saurabh R Shrivastava, Prateek S Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Kancheepuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur ‐ Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Improving urban health standards: Promotion of equity and development of healthier cities for sustainable development.Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:301-302


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Improving urban health standards: Promotion of equity and development of healthier cities for sustainable development. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Aug 14 ];10:301-302
Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/2/301/208705


Full Text

Over the next 15 years till 2030, the global community and the member states have committed to accomplish the proposed 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).[1] The health goal (SDG-3) comprises of different targets to ensure universal health coverage and promotion of well-being for all. On the other hand, the city goal (SDG-11) consists of 10 targets that aim to make cities safe and sustainable.[1]

The current global estimates suggest that almost 3.7 billion people are living in cities today and the number is going to increase even further.[1],[2] In fact, for the very first time, cities have been given priority in the global development agenda, due to the progressive rise in the number of people living in urban areas (viz. by the end of 2050, two out of every three people will be living in cities), and because cities can play a defining leadership role in the management of issues like climate change, public health, and food security.[1],[2],[3]

As a matter of fact, both SDGs 3 and 11 are interrelated and most of the targets set under SDG-11 will aid in the achievement of the health goal.[1] The SDGs are formulated on the principle of equity, which is the need of the hour to accomplish universal health coverage globally.[4] Though, the health coverage in urban areas has improved gradually, even now close to 400 million people across the world are devoid of their basic human rights to access affordable health care.[2] This urbanization has resulted in the emergence of a wide variety of challenges like rise in the burden of non-communicable and infectious diseases, air pollution, problems pertaining to an easy access to water and sanitation services, and the need to improve nutrition, etc.[2],[5] Thus, there is an urgent need to negate the existing health inequities, especially for the population groups living in urban slums.[1]

The overall aim for the cities is to make them free from preventable diseases and plan them in such an organized manner that the welfare of the people can be ensured.[1],[2] This includes measures to advance universal health coverage in cities, overcome the new urban epidemic of non-communicable diseases, address the dual challenge of under-nutrition and over-nutrition, provision of safe water and sanitation services, transformation of urban transport to safer and more sustainable modes, reduce air pollution, minimize incidence of violence and thus enhance safety in the city, develop cities, which can enable healthier behavior and achieve better health outcomes, and measures to improve health in the home settings (like greater use of clean energy, better housing standards, etc.).[1],[2],[3],[4]

In general, local stakeholders are responsible for addressing the demands of population in a specific area.[2] However, for interventions to be effective, a comprehensive approach is the need of the hour, ensuring that all the stakeholders (viz. civil society, private sector, government, etc.) are actively involved.[1],[2],[4] At the same time, strategies like participatory decision-making, exploring the options of public–private partnership, and developing integrated policies across multiple sectors is the crucial step to achieve desired outcomes for health equity, can also deliver long-term results.[1],[5]

To conclude, as a major proportion of cities are not well prepared to respond to the challenges of this century, it is very much essential that the principle of equity is strictly adhered and the cities are planned in such a way that the general population is enabled to lead a long, healthy, and productive life.

Acknowledgements

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work. PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work. JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

References

1World Health Organization. Global report on urban health: equitable healthier cities for sustainable development. 2016; Geneva WHO Press p. 1-26.
2Caiaffa WT, Friche AA, Danielle C. Urban health: landmarks, dilemmas, prospects, and challenges. Cad Saude Publica 2015;31:5-6.
3Hodson R. Urban health and well-being. Nature 2016;531:S49.
4Katz AS, Cheff RM, O'Campo P. Bringing stakeholders together for urban health equity: hallmarks of a compromised process. Int J Equity Health 2015;14:138.
5Rao KD, Peters DH. Urban health in India: many challenges, few solutions. Lancet Glob Health 2015;3:e729-30.