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What is ‘Healthy City’?

According to articles from Health Promotion Glossary in 1998, ‘Healthy City’ means a city that continually creates and enhances the physical and social environment, also develops community resources that enable people to support one another in carrying out all functions of life, so the entire city can develop optimally.

Healthy City holds the principle that ‘healthy’ environment is formed and lived by humans with their essential daily life activities, namely “To Learn, Work, Play, and Love” (quoted from The Ottawa Charter, 1986)/ This Healthy City Program was initiated by WHO in 1986 (and quickly implemented by Europe and other countries). This program focuses on:

  • Creating a health-supported environment,

  • Reaching people who have a good quality of life,

  • Fulfill the basic needs of public sanitation and hygiene, and

  • Provide accesses to health needs.

However, this not only makes Healthy City centered on health facilities or infrastructure, but also focuses on a commitment to improve the urban or regional environment and a willingness to forge the essential relationships required in politics, social, and economy.

Let’s get to know about the characteristics of Healthy City!

Healthy City can be a reference in achieving change for the better, addressing gaps, and promoting or supporting good governance and leadership for health and well-being. In a healthy city, there will be values of innovation, knowledge, and awareness of public health. A healthy city has several characters, such as:

  1. A clean, safe, and good quality physical environment (including good quality and decent community living conditions),

  2. A stable ecosystem for the present and sustainable for the future,

  3. An integrated, mutually supporting, and maintained community over their environments,

  4. High public participation related to controlling and decision making that affect public life, health, and welfare,

  5. Fulfillment of every basic need (such as food, water, shelter, economic income, security, and productive work activities) of each individual community,

  6. Access to a variety of opportunities and resources, by enabling contact, communication, and interaction between individuals,

  7. A diverse, vital, and innovative city in economic fields,

  8. Encouragement over connection with the past, culture, and biological heritage with various communities,

  9. Cities that are compatible and improve the quality of habits and parameters of life for its people,

  10. Optimal and accessible levels of public health and (health) services, and

  11. Cities that have high levels of healthy community conditions and low levels of sick people.

What are the related community of this Healthy City program in the world?

After knowing what Healthy City is, let’s get to know what communities support and participate in implementing this program in various places in the world!

WHO (World Health Organization)

The WHO’s primary role is to direct international health within the United Nations (UN) system and lead partners in the global health response. Healthy City’s background is “Health is created and lived by people in their everyday environment; it is a place for study, work, play, and love.” (The Ottawa Charter, 1986). This statement is the core of the ‘Healthy Regulations’ approach, which is rooted in the WHO’s Health Strategy for all and, more specifically, The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. The aim is to maximize disease prevention through a ‘whole system’ approach that integrates multi-disciplinary action across risk factors. The core principles of all “Healthy Arrangements'' include community participation, partnership, empowerment, and equality. The Healthy City program is the most famous example of a Healthy Management approach that works. Initiated by WHO in 1986, the Healthy City program has spread rapidly throughout Europe and the rest of the world. (quoted from WHO official website with changes.)

ISUH (International Society of Urban Health)

ISUH or the International Society of Urban Health is the only global professional organization in the world that focuses exclusively on the determinants of urban health. ISUH understands that the challenges and opportunities for health in urban environments are complex. They require interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers, educators, policy makers, practitioners, community leaders, and urban health advocates in sectors such as urban planning, architecture, transportation, housing, and environmental health. (quoted from ISUH official website with changes.)

AFHC (The Alliance For Healthy City)

AFHC or The Alliance For Healthy City is an international network that aims to protect and improve the health of city dwellers. An alliance is a group of cities and other organizations that are trying to achieve a goal through an approach known as "Healthy Cities". AFHC believes that international cooperation is an effective and efficient tool to achieve these goals. AFHC promotes the interaction of people who are at the forefront of health issues. The approach to healthy cities was initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO). To address the health impacts of urban environments, WHO has promoted this approach worldwide. As the population living in cities amidst global urbanization increases, AFHC hopes this international network will help improve the health of people living in cities. (quoted from AFHC official website with changes.)

NACCHO (National Association of County and City Health Officials)

NACCHO is the national leadership institution for the health of Aboriginal (and Torres Strait Islander) peoples in Australia. NACCHO provides advice and guidance to the Australian Government on policy & budget issues and advocates for community-developed solutions that contribute to better quality of life and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In 1997, the Federal Government funded NACCHO to establish a Secretariat in Canberra, which greatly increased the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people involved in ACCHO to participate in the development of national health policies. The integrated primary health care model adopted by ACCHOS is in line with Aboriginal community control philosophies and a holistic view of health. Addressing Aboriginal health problems can only be achieved by local Aboriginal people who control the delivery of healthcare. (quoted from NACCHO official website with changes.)


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