The City Health International conference 2018 started on September, 13 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.
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.
Odesa Mayor Henadiy Trukhanov greeted the delegates with the following words at the conference opening: “I’m glad to welcome you to our hospitable and sunny city! I am confident that the 2018 Health in the City conference will be a great event for our region. We in Odesa believe that problems are not solved by themselves. And for this reason, I am glad that, based on the initiative of our partners, we have joined the struggle to overcome the city’s healthcare challenges amid rapid urbanization. Only by combining the efforts of authorities, civil society, professionals and scientists, can we attain a better quality of life for people. We want 2018 Health in the City to become an added benefit to develop our programs, including those that are being implemented jointly with the police. We must change the public perception of these problems in terms of care, therapy and treatment. I am grateful and do not get tired of thanking our Ukrainian and foreign partners who are working to resolve these problems.”
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. This year’s international conference, 2018 Health in the City, taking place in Odesa, is unique its kind because it is bilingual and accessible not only to English, but also to Ukrainian speakers, for the first time in all the years it has been held. Additionally, the city’s residents also can attend the event because when we talk about the city we cannot without the involvement of its inhabitants. Thue, in addition to the main venue, a partnership zone at Shevchenko Park is open where Odesa residents can listen to free lectures on health in the Open Lecture section, undergo rapid testing for diabetes and infectious diseases, as well as receive medical consultation”.
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.”
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 yearly Health in the City conference, founded in 2012, recognizes the challenges of urbanization and focuses on the health and well-being of people. The project addresses complicated issues related to metropolitan areas, including alcohol and drug consumption, healthy eating, safe sexual behavior and the prevention of violence, as well as factors affecting the health of city residents.
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”.