Cities urged to make health a top pri­or­ity

Shang­hai Dec­la­ra­tion calls for strong ac­tion by au­thor­i­ties to pro­tect peo­ple’s well-be­ing

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By SHAN JUAN and ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai Con­tact the writers at shan­juan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

More than 1,000 par­tic­i­pants en­dorsed a dec­la­ra­tion high­light­ing gov­ern­ment re­spon­si­bil­ity in health pro­mo­tion, which was re­leased on Mon­day, the open­ing day of a global health con­fer­ence in Shang­hai.

The Shang­hai Dec­la­ra­tion on Health Pro­mo­tion calls for strong, bold ap­proaches to health pro­mo­tion.

“We com­mit to ap­ply fully the mech­a­nisms avail­able to gov­ern­ment to pro­tect health and pro­mote well-be­ing,” the dec­la­ra­tion reads.

The Ninth Global Con­fer­ence on Health Pro­mo­tion, which in­cludes more than 100 may­ors from around the world, runs from Mon­day to Thurs­day.

Mar­garet Chan, di­rec­tor-gen­eral of theWHO, said: “Health is an end­point that re­flects the suc­cess of mul­ti­ple other goals. Be­cause the de­ter­mi­nants of health are so broad, progress in im­prov­ing health is a re­li­able in­di­ca­tor of progress in im­ple­ment­ing the over­all agenda.”

Wang Longde, chair­man of the China Preven­tiveMedicine As­so­ci­a­tion, said gov­ern­ments must pay at­ten­tion to health tar­gets while set­ting de­vel­op­ment goals.

In­no­va­tion and an open at­ti­tude should guide the process, he added. For in­stance, China’s on­go­ing healthcare re­form is shift­ing more fo­cus from treat­ment to pre­ven­tion.

Liu Yuanli, dean of the School of PublicHealth at Pek­ingUnionMed­i­cal Col­lege, said that the hu­man re­sources and so­cial se­cu­rity au­thor­i­ties, which run the pub­lic health in­sur­ance pro­grams for hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple, “act only as a cashier han­dling med­i­cal bills, but that’s far from enough”.

They should also play a role help­ing peo­ple stay healthy, he said. “Cover ef­fec­tive pre­ven­tion in ad­di­tion to treat­ment.”

He sug­gested that health pro­mo­tion should be con­sid­ered while eval­u­at­ing of­fi­cials’ per­for­mances, and that gov­ern­ments at all lev­els set up health pro­mo­tion com­mit­tees to put for­ward mea­sures and poli­cies en­hanc­ing peo­ple’s health.

Sid­dika Mithani, pres­i­dent of the Pub­lic Health Agency of Canada, said health chal­lenges to­day, such as epidemic chronic dis­eases, need cross-depart­ment col­lab­o­ra­tion.

The Shang­hai Dec­la­ra­tion comes at a cru­cial time to guide fu­ture prac­tice, she said.

“We call on all may­ors and ur­ban lead­ers, re­gard­less of whether their cities are big or small, rich or poor, to join this move­ment of mak­ing bold po­lit­i­cal choices for health,” reads the con­sen­sus.

The may­ors promised to pri­or­i­tize poli­cies that com­bine health and other city poli­cies, and de­velop part­ner­ship-based ur­ban plan­ning.

Pa­tri­cia Chase Green, mayor of Ge­orge­town, cap­i­tal of Guyana, said that al­though the de­vel­op­ment of cities varies, the key chal­lenges are sim­i­lar.

“As may­ors, we are key play­ers and driv­ing forces in cre­at­ing con­di­tions and set­tings for our ci­ti­zens to live healthy lives and cre­at­ing healthy cities for our ci­ti­zens,” she said.

Shin Young-soo, regional di­rec­tor of WHO West­ern Pa­cific Re­gion, said:“May­ors can­make a dif­fer­ence. They are on the front line of cre­at­ing healthy cities and they’re re­spon­si­ble for en­abling their ci­ti­zens have ac­cess to safe wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion and health ser­vices.”

LeonidPechat­nikov, vice-mayor of Moscow, shared the city’s prac­tice of open­ing 100 free parks and adding lanes for bi­cy­cles and pedes­tri­ans.

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