In what can best be described as a first-of-its-kind Summit convened today in London by Bloomberg Philanthropies, World Health Organization, Vital Strategies, and Mayor Sadiq Khan of London, five global cities have been recognized for their achievements in preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries in London.
The Summit brought together mayors and officials from more than 50 major cities in the partnership to discuss urgent public health concerns and best practices that save lives and create healthier cities. With the majority of the global population now living in urban settings, ensuring the health and wellbeing of residents in our world’s urban centers is crucial.
NCDs – including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases – and injuries are responsible for over 80% of all deaths globally. Cities are uniquely positioned to transform the fight against NCDs and injuries by implementing policies to significantly reduce exposure to risk factors. The Summit highlights best practices and proven interventions, which is especially important as public health is at risk of becoming less of a priority three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Non-communicable diseases and injuries pose the number-one threat to global public health. Mayors worldwide are increasingly uniting to confront it, and the Partnership for Healthy Cities will continue to support their urgent and lifesaving work,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, 108th mayor of New York City, and WHO Global Ambassador for Non-communicable Diseases and Injuries.
“Our network’s first-ever Summit showcased the best of local public health leadership, and given the gains achieved by our inaugural award winners, we expect even more leaders will follow in their footsteps as they create healthier, more vibrant cities.”
“The five cities being recognized today demonstrate that mayors can drive powerful progress to protect the health of their citizens,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
“WHO remains committed to working through the Partnership for Healthy Cities to support mayors around the world to build cities that promote and protect health, rather than harm it.”
The five winning cities, each receiving US$ 150 000 to further their work with the partnership, are:
- Athens, Greece for increasing access to the opioid overdose reversal agent, naloxone, at community-based organizations and among healthcare professionals. The city also started researching causes of death among people who inject drugs to better understand the impact of the overdose crisis;
- Bengaluru, India for their efforts in tobacco control, specifically, reducing smoking in public places and improving compliance with existing mandates on public smoking bans;
- Mexico City, Mexico for improving road safety and safe and active mobility by launching a bike path on a busy road that led to a 275% increase in cyclists; implementing a shared lane for cyclists and buses separate from cars; establishing loading and unloading areas; and optimizing design and management of roads close to schools;
- Montevideo, Uruguay for establishing nutritional standards for the preparation and sale of food in government agency offices and some public universities, for focusing on sodium reduction policies and developing media campaigns and educational materials; and
- Vancouver, Canada for making public health data more inclusive and accessible by launching an online public health data tool that tracks population health indicators and working with urban Indigenous communities to better inform data management.
“These initiatives are not only improving the health of Londoners, but alleviating pressure off our health service and ensuring that future generations can thrive. Improving the health of Londoners will always be at the heart of my vision to build a safer and more prosperous London for everyone.”said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan“I’m delighted to be joining Mayors from around the world today to tackle some of the biggest issues facing our cities. The health of our citizens is a city’s greatest asset so I’m taking bold steps to invest in the health of Londoners, such as restricting junk food advertising across the Transport for London network and expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will mean five million more Londoners will be able to breathe cleaner air.”