WHO Director-General Turns Attention To Conditions In Slums To Mark World Health Day
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said addressing living conditions in the world's slums is important to improving urban health the focus of World Health Day on Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reports. "By 2030, six out of 10 people will be city dwellers, rising to seven out of 10 people by 2050, with explosive growth in Asia and Africa, according to Chan," the news service writes (4/7).
"Today, around one third of urban dwellers, amounting to nearly one billion people, live in urban slums, informal settings, or pavement tents," with over 90 percent of slums located in cities of the developing world, Chan said during a press briefing.
"The threats to health are multiple: from inadequate sanitation and refuse collection to pollution and accidents from congested traffic, from children playing barefoot in soil or water contaminated by untreated waste, to outbreaks of infectious diseases that thrive on filth and crowded conditions," Chan said, adding, "Slums are productive breeding grounds for tuberculosis, hepatitis, dengue, pneumonia, cholera, and diarrhoeal diseases that spread easily in highly concentrated populations."
Chan urged political leaders throughout the world to take action to address health inequities among city dwellers. "When municipal authorities think about the future of the cities they govern, they need to think about health, and plan for health," she said (4/7).
In related news, three EU commissioners released a statement on World Health Day where they called "health care a 'right for all, in Europe and beyond,'" the Wall Street Journal's "Real Time Brussels" blog reports in a post that examines developed country health aid to lower-income countries (Miller, 4/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.