Sharjah, the healthy city in the Middle East and Africa region with an impressive score of 88% as per the World Health Organization (WHO) is now sharing its wealth of knowledge with Kuwait. Representative from the Sharjah Health Authority, delivered a key-note speech at the recently concluded Kuwait Healthy Cities exhibition and conference, to enlighten the participants on Sharjah’s strategies and experience of being the healthiest city in Middle East and Africa region. The Emirate endeavors to score higher during the next evaluation by WHO in the coming years.
The primary goal of the WHO Healthy Cities initiative is to put health high on the social, economic and political agenda of city governments. Conference of Healthy Cities in Kuwait is a dedicated platform to showcase successful implementation of healthy city initiative in Kuwait.
H.E. Abdulla Ali Al Mahyan, Chairman of SHA (Sharjah Health Authority) and SHCC (Sharjah Healthcare City) stated that, “It is important for us to share our knowledge and key areas of success with Kuwait and among other nations to have a collective healthy city approach. This is a great step forward for the region and we are proud to showcase and add value to the communities within this region. In 2015, Sharjah was required to achieve 80% of the WHO indicators in different domains like health development, community based engagements, education and literacy, skill development, water, sanitation and air and emergency preparedness. With the combined efforts of all the government stakeholders we aim to better our record each year.”
Kuwait had initiated the Healthy City Program since 2002, and since 2014, five cities registered in the Regional Health City Program network created by WHO. The Healthy Cities project is a global movement as it engages local governments in health development through a process of political commitment, institutional change, capacity-building, partnership based planning and innovative projects.
The ‘Sharjah Healthy City’ program commenced in April 2012, and was registered within the WHO regional healthy city network. This initiative is part of the vision and efforts of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. The health ministers discussed the numerous initiatives taken by Sharjah Health Authority in order to ensure the sustainability of the programs and to put health at the top of the development agenda of the emirate.
“Sharjah has worked hard over the years to meet all the parameters that are required to be a healthy city. We are delighted to take our success story across the region and make a difference within their ecosystem. We shared the steps we undertook with the Kuwait Healthy Cities team and the other participants to help them in their quest to make their cities healthier. Sharjah is the only city in the region among several countries across the globes who have registered to become a healthy city,” added H.E Dr. Abdel Aziz Al Mheiri, Director of Sharjah Health Authority.
There were many other cities who had joined the healthy city accreditation programme but many are yet achieve all the objectives. Sharjah healthy city program now under the Sharjah Health Authority is fully geared to conduct yearlong workshops and seminars of a similar nature with the Government stakeholders. We will continue to improve our standards for the city in terms of justice, community partnership, transparency, efficiency and above all by extending a healthy standard of living,” said Dr.Mheiri.
According to the WHO officials, Sharjah will also be a regional training center for other cities seeking an endorsement to join the program. WHO has commended Sharjah’s commitment and its successful implementation of the criteria specified by the WHO which earned it the rare distinction of becoming the first city in the MENA region.
According to WHO, health is the business of all sectors and local governments are in a unique leadership position, with power to protect and promote their citizens' health and well-being.
“We wish to share our achievements and help other cities in the region to gain further from our experience. The recognition by WHO is not just another title earned by Sharjah, but a cumulative effort by the Ruler and Sharjah authorities who have ensured that the residents of Sharjah live and grow within a healthy, safe and secure ecosystem,” concluded Dr.Mheiri.
Sharjah Health Authority: For more information, kindly log on to www.sha.gov.ae