May 24, 2010, 2:04 PM
Yesterday, April 7th was observed as World Health Day 2010, dubbed "Urbanization and Health."
The day is being marked with campaign in 1000 cities; events would be organised worldwide during the week of 7 ? 11 April 2010. The global goals of the campaign are: to open up public spaces to health, whether it is activities in parks, town hall meetings, clean-up campaigns, or closing off portions of streets to motorise vehicles.
It also involves collection of stories of urban health champions, who have taken actions and had a significant impact on health in their cities. As we mark the event, we must not lose sight of those in hospital beds and their medical bills, and those patients thinking of travelling overseas for treatment.
We should remember them in our prayers and where possible pay their medical bills, hence without health nothing is possible.
Good health is very important in every soul. Good health is not only about not being ill, it is about being happy and feeling well physically, mentally and spiritually.
Governments face the daunting challenge of ensuring that essential services, such as health care, water supply, housing and solid waste management are adequate to meet the growing needs of the populations. This is further compounded by the rapid growth and spread of slums in many cities.
Overcrowding and the overall quality of housing in these slums where the majority of people live are cause for concern.
People living in poverty in unplanned urban areas suffer disproportionately from a wide range of diseases. Unhealthy diet and physical inactivity among poverty-stricken urban dwellers contribute to increased risk of non-communicable health conditions, such as obesity, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
Crucially, the public in general, and the urban population in particular, should adopt healthier lifestyles by undertaking regular physical activity, having a healthy diet and reducing smoking and alcohol consumption.
The need to promote the development of policies and actions to achieve sustainable health for all is great.
In The Gambia efforts to bring primary health care to all has been laudable, thanks to various key interventions by the government and its development partners.
"He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything."