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RP joins other countries in observance of World Health Day on April 7

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
April 5, 2010

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The country joins other nations of the world in the observance of World Health Day of April 7, the day when the World Health Organization was founded in 1948.

This year's World Health Day activities will center on the theme “Urbanization and Health” which was selected for World Health Day in recognition of the effect urbanization has on the collective health globally and individually.

In 2007, the world’s population living in cities surpassed 50% for the first time in history and this proportion is growing. By 2030, six out of ten people will be city dwellers rising to seven out of every ten people by 2050.

The world is at a clear turning point, moving towards an increasingly urbanized world and with it, the need to embrace the consequences this can have for health, both the benefits and the challenges. There is a need to ensure that growing cities are healthy cities.

Urbanization is associated with many health challenges related to water, environment, violence and injury, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors like tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol as well as the risks associated with disease outbreaks.

With the Department of Health as the lead agency, the Philippines will join in the 1000 cities 1000 lives campaign which encourages cities and individuals to work across multiple agencies with a wide range of partners to have the most lasting impact on health. The global goal is for 1000 cities to participate in the World Health Day campaign.

The campaign calls upon cities to close off portions of streets to motorized traffic and open them up for health activities for one day during the week of April 7 through Sunday, April 11.

Activities such as town hall meetings with mayors, clean up-campaigns, and promoting social solidarity by encouraging citizens to visit neighbors, orphanages, patients in hospitals, and underprivileged communities to extend a helping hand are also welcomed.

One of the overarching goals for World Health Day is to integrate the Day within a sustained public health strategy as demonstrated through a series of regular activities, either at the street, neighborhood, local, national or regional level. The Day should serve as a start or a symbol of a sustained commitment to incorporate health more broadly in urban public policy.

The Day can trigger the long-term commitment to approach health from a social determinants point of view addressing the factors and conditions that can determine health outcomes across multiple sectors, engaging a wide array of partners including civil society and individual citizens.

The Philippines through the Department of Health is committed to help in the achievement of the objectives of the World Health Day, to draw worldwide attention to the theme of urbanization and health; and to engage governments, international organizations, business and civil society in a shared effort to put health at the heart of urban policy.