RIYADH: Health ministers from Gulf Cooperation Council states have declared March 1 as Gulf Healthy Cities Day.
The event will be celebrated annually and is aimed at unifying the Gulf role in highlighting the development goals of the healthy cities program, while promoting community participation with decision-makers and various sectors within every healthy city.
Through the process, the initiative has been designed to boost the health of individuals, reduce the economic burden of healthcare, and achieve sustainable development goals. The SDGs were set up in 2015 by the UN General Assembly and are intended to be met by 2030.
The GCC health ministers have drawn up a work strategy for 2022 to 2026 to promote joint programs and projects with a view to stepping up health cooperation and furthering healthy cities.
The GCC joint drive is also in line with preventive programs set by the World Health Organization to protect populations through sustainable urban development.
The Gulf Healthy Cities Day declaration came as a culmination of the efforts of the Gulf countries that joined the healthy cities program, one of the community health initiatives launched by the WHO.
The Saudi Ministry of Health has adopted its implementation since 1999 and the developmental preventive program works to improve all aspects of the environment in relation to the lives and well-being of the population, which directly and indirectly affect health.
It has also received interest and support from decision-makers throughout the Kingdom — in more than 45 governorates and centers — as it is an integrated organizational model that reinforces modern concepts that the responsibility for health and well-being begins with the individual.
In recent years, the Kingdom has developed healthcare on a regional and global scale, and has obtained WHO accreditation for nine healthy cities, namely Diriyah, Madinah, Taif, Unaizah, Jalajil, Al-Mandaq, Jamoum, Riyadh Al-Khubra, and Sharurah.
This is in addition to the accreditation of Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University as the first health-promoting university in Riyadh.