Mayor Cayetano Bats for Public Health at the WHO in Geneva
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Mayor Lani Cayetano met with officials at the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva on 26 February 2018, to discuss public health initiatives for the City of Taguig related to the global goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases and his team briefed Mayor Cayetano on the Healthy Cities Initiative which pushes cities to consider a “Health in All Policies approach”, focusing on addressing the social determinants of health (SDH), which the WHO defines as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life” in addition to health service delivery.
Mayor Cayetano acknowledged the relevance of WHO’s public health programs in the social development policies of the City of Taguig and all cities and communities in the Philippines. She suggested that the City Mayors would benefit from the expertise of the WHO as they implement public health projects at the local level. Mayor Cayetano, who is the current Chair of the League of Cities, suggested a strong collaboration between WHO and the League of Cities in this regard.
The WHO identifies urbanization as one of the key challenges for public health in the 21st century, and renews emphasis on the interconnectedness of social, economic and environmental concerns. The view is that health promotion efforts, grounded in a “healthy cities approach”, catalyzes political leadership and participatory governance. This approach can be transformational for health and health equity, as well as in helping mitigate the impacts of environmental degradation, climate change, ageing, migration, growing inequalities and social isolation.
Improving access to public health services in the City of Taguig has been the hallmark of the Mayor Cayetano’s term in office. The discussion with the WHO zeroed in on Sustainable Development Goal number 3 on Health for all and Sustainable Development Goal number 11 on Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Permanent Representative to the Philippine Mission to the UN in Geneva, Evan Garcia, said that he welcomed the next steps as an opportunity to facilitate linkages between the technical expertise of international organizations in Geneva with local government, on the implementation of the SDGs at the local level.###