The emirate of Sharjah is now the healthiest city in the Middle East and Africa region with an impressive score of 88% as per the World Health Organization (WHO). Stakeholders from various Sharjah Government departments related to the healthy city program assembled at the Sharjah Health Authority headquarters to share their strategies. The stakeholders brainstormed during the meeting to ensure that the city scores higher during the next evaluation by WHO in the coming years.
The ‘Sharjah Healthy City’ programme 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.
This initiative was mooted to put health at the top of the development agenda of the emirate. A letter of cooperation was signed between Government of Sharjah and WHO aiming to create and improve the social and health environment in the city. Sharjah is the only city in the region among several countries across the globe who have registered to become a healthy city.
“To move to the next level, 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. However, Sharjah exceeded expectations and has been awarded as the ‘Health City’ with an 88% score in 2015. With the combined efforts of all the government stakeholders we aim to better our record each year,” stated H.E. Abdulla Ali Al Mahyan, Chairman of SHA (Sharjah Health Authority) and SHCC (Sharjah Healthcare City).
Sharjah healthy city program now under the Sharjah Health Authority is fully geared to conduct yearlong workshops and seminars of the same nature with the Government stakeholders in order to ensure everybody’s contributions and thus the future sustainability of the program, said H.E Dr.Abdel Aziz Al Mheiri, Director of Sharjah Health Authority.
According to the WHO officials, Sharjah will also be a regional training center for other cities seeking an endorsement to join the program. WHO commended Sharjah’s commitment to a healthy environment and its successful implementation of the criteria specified by the UN body, which earned it the rare distinction of becoming the first city in the MENA region.
The WHO Healthy Cities project is a global movement. It engages local governments in health development through a process of political commitment, institutional change, capacity-building, partnership based planning and innovative projects.
The primary goal of the WHO Healthy Cities initiative is to put health high on the social, economic and political agenda of city governments. 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.
“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. 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. We wish to share our achievements and help other cities in the region to follow our steps towards becoming a healthy city.” concluded Al Mahyan.