On September 13-14, The City Health International conference 2018 held in Odesa organized by the Alliance for Public Health together with the City of Odessa, AFEW International (The Netherlands) and Knowledge Action Change (United Kingdom).
More than 250 delegates from over 30 countries assembled to exchange best practices in public healthcare and on city health issues related to social, economic, and demographic changes. Among them are municipal workers, researchers, civic activists, and politicians from a variety of countries.
Professor Michel Kazatchkine, UNAIDS Special Adviser on HIV, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis C in Eastern Europe and Central Asia described the global problem of healthcare in cities thus: “HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are important issues in the region of EUCA. One of the ways in which the world struggles with these diseases is to use the opportunities of civil society due to its dialogue and work with at-risk groups. In Ukraine, there are very powerful organizations – the Public Health Alliance and 100% Life. Hence, it’s quite good that now, thanks to this conference, there is an additional opportunity to introduce changes at the municipal level.”
At the end of the event, the director of Knowledge Action Change, Peddy Costal, presented the Paolo Pertika Award. The Paolo Pertica Award is given for exceptional achivements in the work in criminal justice context, in relation to drug and alcohol users, which can be shown to have a positive impact for both individual offenders and the community in general. This year’s award was given to EECA representative Dumitru Laticevschi to mark his contribution to the development of harm reduction programs in Moldova. Thanks to his work, needle exchange and opioid substitution therapy became available in prisons of Moldova which is now serving as a best model for all EECA region.
Andriy Klepikov, the executive director of the Alliance for Public Health international charity foundation, added: “Healthy cities are not those where many hospitals abound, they are cities where healthy people live and whose residents care about one another. This conference is important for Ukraine because changes can’t happen overnight throughout the country. Change must be done gradually and it should start with cities for they must solve their residents’ health problems.
Event organizers Andriy Klepikov from the Alliance for Public Health and Peddy Costal from Knowledge Action Change handed over the baton to the Liverpool (United Kingdom) and Melbourne (Australia). This is where the City Health International conference will take place in 2019.
For the Odessa citizens and guests of the city next to the venue of the conference also set up a healthy life area where all interested could get tested for diabetes, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, as well listen to lectures on healthy lifestyles and recreation with relatives and friends.
Myroslava Ulyanina, host of the reality show “Weighted and Happy,” gave attendees the following instructions: “I am happy that now jogging is en vogue. As well as eating healthy organic products and monitoring one’s bodily health. Therefore, let’s not follow the old, outdated traditions that proclaimed: “being sick is normal while growing weaker with age is an inevitability”. Let’s be trendsetters and promote new ones on health! At any age and in any city! After all, only a healthy person can be successful.”
The organization of the partnership zone was made possible thanks to the support of “OraSure Technologies, Inc.”, “Synevo”, AHF Ukraine, Red Cross representative offices in Odessa, FAST organizations, Elena Pinchuk Foundation, Sport Life, Drugstore organizations , The Odesa Charitable Foundation “Road to the House”, the Charity Fund “Sunflower”, the All-Ukrainian Women’s Jewish Organization “Project Kesher”, the religious mission “Caritas-Spes-Odesa”, the public movement “Faith, Hope, Love”, Youth Development Center, Charitable Foundation “Era of mercy”.