We have entered an urban age and urban health is a growing public health challenge. The Western Pacific Region is home to 30% of the world's population, and is expected to grow rapidly. This trend is not inherently bad for health. In general, we know that urban populations are better off than their rural counterparts: they tend to have better access to health care and social services, to education, to food and clean water – to name just a few benefits.
However, the picture changes with unplanned and uncontrolled urbanization: and the list of urban hazards and associated health risks begins to grow. Broad physical, social and economic determinants influence the health of urban residents. In order to ensure the positive aspects of urban life, the municipal governments – when thinking about the future of the cities they govern – must consider the impact their decisions can have on the health of their city's populations.
The Regional Office is supporting the process of healthy urbanization through various initiatives.