Bengaluru is among five global cities that have been recognised for achievements in preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries, with the Indian tech city’s efforts in tobacco control winning a USD 150,000 award by a leading global initiative supported by the WHO.
Bengaluru was honoured on Wednesday with the 2023 Partnership for Healthy Cities Award, along with Montevideo in Uruguay; Mexico City, Mexico; Vancouver, Canada and Athens, Greece, at the inaugural Partnership for Healthy Cities Summit held in London, a statement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) said. The cities were recognised for positively impacting the health of their population and making sustainable and lasting strides toward NCD and injury prevention that can be replicated in other jurisdictions.
According to the statement, the five winning cities each received USD 150,000 to further their work with the partnership.
The Karnataka capital was awarded for its “efforts in tobacco control, specifically, reducing smoking in public places and improving compliance with existing mandates on public smoking bans,” the statement said.
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”The five cities being recognised today demonstrate that mayors can drive powerful progress to protect the health of their citizens,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“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,” he added.
Athens was honoured for increasing access to the opioid overdose reversal agent, naloxone, at community-based organisations and among healthcare professionals and Mexico City was recognised for improving road safety and safe and active mobility by launching a bike path on a busy road, leading to a 275 per cent increase in cyclists.
Montevideo established nutritional standards for the preparation and sale of food in government agency offices and some public universities. It also focused on sodium reduction policies and developing media campaigns and educational materials.
Vancouver made 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,” the statement said. The Summit brought together mayors and officials from more than 50 major cities to discuss urgent public health concerns and best practices that save lives and create healthier cities, the statement said, adding that ensuring the health and well-being of residents in the world’s urban centres is crucial, with the majority of the global population now living in urban settings.
Noncommunicable diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases and injuries, are responsible for over 80 per cent of all deaths globally.
According to the statement, cities are uniquely positioned to transform the fight against NCDs and injuries by implementing policies that significantly reduce exposure to risk factors.
The Summit highlighted ”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,” according to the statement.
The first-of-its-kind Summit was convened in London by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the WHO, Vital Strategies, and Mayor Sadiq Khan of London.
Founded in 2017, the Partnership for Healthy Cities is a global network comprising 70 cities working together to prevent NCDs and injuries. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, in partnership with the WHO and Vital Strategies, the initiative enables cities worldwide to deliver a high-impact policy or programmatic intervention to reduce NCDs and injuries in their communities.
Founder of Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies, former New York City mayor and WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries, Michael Bloomberg, said given the gains achieved by the inaugural award winners, “we expect even more leaders will follow in their footsteps as they create healthier, more vibrant cities.” The mayors who attended the inaugural Partnership for Healthy Cities Summit -and their city’s public health focus areas- included Mayor Kiritkumar Jivanlal Parmar of Ahmedabad, with a focus area on noncommunicable disease surveillance and Mayor Balendra Shah of Kathmandu, focusing on improving air quality surveillance.