|Fact sheet No 172: Health Promotion - Encouraging healthy systems - Reviewed June 1998 (WHO, 1998, 3 p.)|
|Health Promotion: Encouraging healthy systems|
An ever-greater number and percentage of the worlds people are living in cities. They live, work and grow up there and thus urban settings have a crucial role to play in determining health: the prerequisites for a healthy city are considered to be peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable eco-system, sustainable resources, social justice and equity.
Healthy Cities are a centrepiece of WHOs Settings for Health approach to health promotion. In Malaysia, the Healthy City Kuching project sought to enhance the quality of life in that city by involving all government agencies, private sector and community organizations, whose activities are related to health, in the attainment of better health. Their activities covered the economic, social and physical dimensions of city life.
The project began with a situation analysis of the citys resources and problems and from this a profile of the city was developed. A Healthy City Kuching Plan was then prepared. Two years later implementation of the Plan was reviewed. Parts of the Plan were modified as needed. The Plan included inputs from various government agencies concerned with the production and promotion of health, the Chief Minister of the State, other government officials, as well as from the public who were surveyed on what they liked most and least about the city and on what they most wanted to change.
Apart form the Healthy City Plan, the project also led to the establishment of a steering committee headed by the State Planning Unit, with technical committees and a secretariat. There are regular meetings and dialogue between the agencies involved and public awareness has been raised through the holding of Healthy City-Kuching week every year.
No additional budget costs were incurred as a result of the project; support came from the existing budgets of the agencies involved.
The healthy cities project has the support of the top politicians in the region and because of the success of the project in Kuching, the Malaysian Government has decided to extend the project to cover the whole of the country and has set up a Healthy Urban Malaysia Programme.
Moreover, 30 agencies now discuss together how to enhance the quality of life in the city: they now understand that they all have roles to play; the health of the city is not the responsibility of the Health Department and the local authorities alone.