This year the focus of World Health Day is on the world's growing urban population. The theme, "1000 cities, 1000 lives" provides an opportunity to highlight the work that is being done to improve health in urban settings. The unprecedented rate of urban growth has far outstripped the ability of these cities to provide infrastructure for new residents. This lack of infrastructure will lead to an estimated 2 billion people living in slums over the next 20 years.
The growth of slums, which results from poorly managed urban growth, can give rise to the spread of both chronic and infectious diseases. Poor air quality, lack of access to potable water, limited sanitation, and poverty can lead to higher rates of infant and child mortality, higher rates of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, and poor nutrition.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is working to meet the challenges of urbanization and health through our "Making Cities Work" strategy. This strategy targets the needs of the urban poor and other vulnerable people by driving economic growth and improving access to health care and quality education. The United States has also made a bold commitment to invest in healthy and productive lives as part of President Obama's Global Health Initiative. Finally, USAID's Urban Programs Team engages local governments, citizens, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to develop sustainable solutions to urban challenges.
USAID is committed to working with our partners to promote health, development and a better quality of life for people in cities around the world.
Last updated: May 17, 2012