8th International Conference on Urban Health, Day One Update
The 8th International Conference on Urban Health in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 18-23, 2009
Conference website – http://www.icuh2009.org
Day One’s Round up, Oct. 19, 2009
The 8th International Conference on Urban Health kicked off today in Nairobi, Kenya, hearing first hand from the community that has been affected by rapid growth of cities- those that live in Informal settlements.
Unlike other previous conferences on Urban Health the Nairobi one focuses more on the challenges that urbanization posses to the health of residents in Africa and Asia. For the first time, communities spoke of solutions for issues like, water and sanitation; waste management; security, health services among others.
Speaking at the Community Voices Forum, Hon Elizabeth Ongoro, Assistant Minister, Nairobi Metropolitan Development was quick to note that the discussions could not have come at a better time than this ‘since her ministry needs the solutions to achieve Kenya’s vision 2030. “As the government seeks to listen to the voices of the people, this forum is very welcome so that we can continue implementing people-centred solutions”
The day saw residents of Kibera, Korogocho Viwandani and Mathare ( some of the informal settlements from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi) showcase projects that offer solutions to the ever challenging problems of urbanization like; health insurance, HIV/AIDs, Sustainable Livelihoods, Security and Peace initiatives, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Disabilities and Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
Earlier in the day journalists went through a briefing that highlighted why the meeting was held in Africa for the first time as well as the unique challenges that Africa and Asia face by virtue of having fast growing cities.
The ICUH president Dr. Jean-Christophe Fotso, the ISUH founding president David Vlahov together with David Kinyua the communications and advocacy officer of the National Coordinating Agency on Population and Development were on hand to explain the different themes that the conference will be addressing.
The African continent is urbanizing very fast and at a time when local economies are not performing well, the result is that many Africans moving to urban areas are unable to find employment and they end up living in deplorable conditions in slums, where they don’t enjoy the services that an urban setting is supposed to provide. Day one did provide the beginning of a discussion by hearing from the community and Day two- Monday 19th’s session will be hearing the voices of representatives of local governments from 40 different cities around the world on how they are handling the challenges of their growing cities.
Dubbed as the Urban Health Champions is an entry point to an engagement with policy makers and forging of partnerships that will help make the Nairobi Urban Health Statement at the end of the week.