Urban health challenges across the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region are acute and increasingly complex. Unplanned urban growth puts millions of people living in urban slums and disadvantaged areas in a particularly vulnerable situation, often with poor health coverage and limited access to social services. The essential value of health equity and social justice is reaffirmed in the Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health, adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2012. In response to the challenge, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO) has established a Regional Healthy City Network web site to support city planners in their efforts to strengthen intersectoral collaboration, assess health and social inequity and encourage increased access for city dwellers to quality health, environmental, social and cultural services. City planners and authorities are urged to join the Network and register their cities through the website.
The Network hopes that as many as 200 cities will be registered by the end of 2013.
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