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Bucharest, Cairo, Córdoba, Dublin, Greater Manchester, and Warsaw Join Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Partnership for Healthy Cities

WHO news - Thu, 08/19/2021 - 11:34

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced today a renewed commitment to its flagship initiative to create safer and healthier urban environments with a $31 million investment and shared that six new cities will join the Partnership for Healthy Cities network—Bucharest, Romania; Cairo, Egypt; Córdoba, Argentina; Dublin, Ireland; Greater Manchester, United Kingdom; and Warsaw, Poland.

Launched in 2017 as part of Michael R. Bloomberg’s role as the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) and Injuries, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Partnership for Healthy Cities is a collaboration with WHO and Vital Strategies, a global health organization. This network, now comprising 70 cities, supports mayors implementing proven, high-impact policies or programs to reduce NCDs and injuries in their communities. NCDs such as heart disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases, and injuries, including road traffic crashes, cause an estimated 80% of deaths across the globe each year. In 2020, the Partnership also incorporated support for cities’ COVID-19 response. Today’s announcement brings the total amount of funding by Bloomberg Philanthropies to the Partnership for Healthy Cities to $52 million. 

“Through the Partnership for Healthy Cities, local leaders around the world are improving public health and saving lives—and today, we’re glad to welcome six new members,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. “These cities and their mayors are committed to implementing programs and policies that protect the health and safety of millions of people. We look forward to supporting their work and replicating the most effective efforts around the world.”

“The health and well-being of billions of people depends to a large degree on the urban environments in which they live and work,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization. “WHO applauds Bloomberg Philanthropies’ leadership and ongoing support for the Partnership for Healthy Cities, as well as the commitment of all the cities in the partnership. We stand ready to support this important work for the next four years to create cities that nurture health, rather than harming it.”

As part of the Partnership, the Cairo Governate will work on making healthier food options available for people eating in city restaurants. Dublin City Council will expand a pedestrian access and safety audit with the goal of transforming the street and sidewalks to be more friendly to people, not cars. The city of Córdoba will initially focus on COVID-19 vaccine outreach to older adults who have difficulty reading and writing or are hesitant about being vaccinated. Bucharest, Greater Manchester, and Warsaw will announce their health or safety projects soon.

“I am so greatly honored today that Cairo is joining the Partnership for Healthy Cities network,” said Khaled Abdel-Aal, Governor of Cairo. “We look forward to benefitting from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ expertise, as well as other cities’ experiences, to ensure that best international practices are reflected in our efforts.” 

“On behalf of our residents, Córdoba is proud to be able to participate in the Partnership for Healthy Cities,” said Martín Llaryora, Intendant of Córdoba, Argentina. “We remain focused on the health of the people of Córdoba. We believe that joining the Partnership will propel our city into a healthier future, helping us make a qualitative leap in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and return to normalcy in the healthiest way.”

“I am delighted that Dublin is now part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Partnership for Healthy Cities network,” said Alison Gilliland, Lord Mayor of Dublin. “We live in an increasingly connected global world, and networks like these are very important in helping us all learn from one another. Here in Dublin, we have been working hard to promote active mobility by increasing facilities for cyclists and introducing school zones and cycle buses, as well as pedestrianizing some of our city center streets. I look forward to seeing how Dublin can continue to develop further initiatives like these as part of the Partnership for Healthy Cities.”

“As in other parts of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed existing health and social inequalities, and parts of the North of England have seen a dramatic fall in life expectancy,” said Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester. “Greater Manchester is honored to have been chosen as one of the latest global cities to join the Partnership for Healthy Cities, where we can build on our existing commitments to create healthier, happier communities. Joining a global network like this means we can share ideas and solutions with each other to close the health and wealth gaps between communities.” 

In the Partnership for Healthy Cities, local governments select from one of 14 interventions that address tobacco control, road safety, safe and active mobility, healthy food, data surveillance, or overdose prevention. City staff are provided technical assistance, communications support, grants of up to $100,000, workshops, and access to in-person and virtual peer-to-peer exchanges that support collaboration and sharing of lessons learned about areas of urban health and safety. 

Important strides by partner cities toward their health and safety goals include the Municipality of Lima, Peru, passing a local ordinance promoting healthy food environments in schools and restaurants through such measures as restrictions on junk food sales and marketing. Both Melbourne, Australia, and Bandung, Indonesia, have adopted new smoke-free laws which will protect the health of countless urban residents by prohibiting smoking in most public spaces.

“Cities have long served as drivers of public health, a distinction which holds even more importance as urban areas stand to absorb up to 68% of the world’s population by 2050,” said José Luis Castro, President and CEO of Vital Strategies. “Although the heavy toll of NCDs and injuries remains a challenge, we celebrate the remarkable progress made by cities in the Partnership. Our global network is leading the way to make big, systemic changes to improve the health and safety of urban residents around the world.”

During the current pandemic, the Partnership pivoted to provide resources to network cities for their COVID-19 responses. This included a webinar series, led by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, that connected mayors worldwide and provided them with access to the latest COVID-19 information and the perspectives of leading experts, and an online response center with more than 400 resources and tools. Fifty-two cities in the network benefitted from additional grant funding to address their COVID-19 response and vaccination needs—including outreach on how to best educate high-risk populations on the importance of the vaccine. 

The pandemic accelerated action on some cities’ existing Partnership programs. For example, several member cities in Latin America focused on expanding bicycling infrastructure as the COVID-19 pandemic created a need for safer transportation alternatives.

The 64 cities continuing their membership in the Partnership for Healthy Cities are Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Ahmedabad, Amman, Athens, Bandung, Bangkok, Barcelona, Bengaluru, Birmingham, Bogotá, Boston, Buenos Aires, Cali, Cape Town, Casablanca, Chicago, Colombo, Dakar, Dhaka, Fortaleza, Freetown, Guadalajara, Hanoi, Harare, Helsinki, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta, Kampala, Kathmandu, Kigali, Kuala Lumpur, Kumasi, Kyiv, León, Lima, London, Lusaka, Medellín, Melbourne, Mexico City, Montevideo, Mumbai, Muscat, Ouagadougou, Paris, Philadelphia, Phnom Penh, Quezon City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Santiago, Santo Domingo, São Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo, Toronto, Tunis, Vancouver, and Yangon.

 

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About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 810 cities and 170 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.6 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

About the Partnership for Healthy Cities

The Partnership for Healthy Cities is a prestigious global network of cities committed to saving lives by preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with WHO, as well as Vital Strategies, this initiative enables cities around the world to deliver a high-impact policy or programmatic intervention to reduce NCDs and injuries in their communities. For more information, visit: https://partnershipforhealthycities.bloomberg.org/

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Joint Statement from Unitaid and the World Health Organization (on behalf of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator) regarding availability of tocilizumab

WHO news - Wed, 08/18/2021 - 16:29

WHO and Unitaid are concerned by Roche’s statement yesterday, warning of a global shortage of tocilizumab (brand name Actemra/RoActemra), an IL6 inhibitor WHO recommended in June for use as a treatment for severe COVID-19 cases. Tocilizumab can play a key role in decreasing mortality and reducing need for invasive mechanical ventilation among severely ill patients, when delivered alongside oxygen and corticosteroids.

While we welcome and acknowledge that Roche has announced measures to address the shortage, we call on the company to ensure equitable allocation of current stocks of this medicine for all countries, including low- and middle-income countries.

We also strongly encourage Roche to facilitate technology transfer and knowledge and data sharing to broaden access to this important treatment.

The ACT-A partnership Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator partners are working with Roche to set up channels for distribution of tocilizumab in places where it is not yet in use, as part of their effort to support roll-out of effective new therapeutic products for COVID-19. 

In addition, WHO has issued a call for Expression of Interest to its Prequalification programme to expand the number of quality-assured manufacturers of the drug and thus to increase global supplies.

WHO and Unitaid remain committed to ensuring equitable access to medicines for treating patients with severe COVID-19 as a vital element of the effort to fight the pandemic everywhere and save lives.

Unitaid and the World Health Organization

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About Unitaid


Unitaid is a global health agency engaged in finding innovative solutions to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases more quickly, cheaply, and effectively, in low- and middle-income countries. Its work includes funding initiatives to address major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, as well as HIV co-infections and co-morbidities such as cervical cancer and hepatitis C, and cross-cutting areas, such as fever management. Unitaid is now applying its expertise to address challenges in advancing new therapies and diagnostics for the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a key member of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. Unitaid is hosted by the World Health Organization.

About WHO

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States across six regions, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and well-being.  

For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit www.who.int and follow WHO on TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedInTikTokPinterestSnapchatYouTubeTwitch  

About the ACT-Accelerator

The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) is a global coalition of organizations developing and deploying the new diagnostics, treatments and vaccines needed to end the acute phase of the pandemic. Pooling the expertise of its many partners, the ACT-Accelerator has quickly ushered in rapid, affordable tests and effective medicines, and established the COVAX facility for the equitable procurement and distribution of vaccines in low- and lower-middle-income countries.

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