By Adam Reekie, Research Assistant, Manchester Urban Collaboration on Health (MUCH)
Centre for Epidemiology, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester
In 2010 there was a demographical shift whereby, for the first time in history the percentage of people living in an urban environment was greater than the percentage of people living in a rural one. The health of these people is one of great importance as the health inequalities for urban residents are much more extreme than those living in the country. This is due to wider socioeconomic determinants affecting the education and income opportunities of urban communities which lead to the urban poor typically living in polluted and isolated areas.
Within cities, influences and decisions on people’s health does not just lie with the health sector but with local authority, education, urban planners, engineers and those who determine physical infrastructure and access to social and health services.
This coupled with an increased prevalence of infectious diseases (such as HIV/AIDS, TB and pneumonia), non communicable diseases (such as asthma, heart disease, cancer and diabetes) and, violence and injury (including road traffic accidents) make it very difficult for the urban poor to stay healthy.
The severity and magnitude of these issues cannot be easily addressed, which is why international collaboration and knowledge exchange is fundamental to public health enhancements.
The International Conference on Urban Health (ICUH) offers the perfect forum for such interaction. The 11th International Conference on Urban Health will take place between the 4th and 7th March 2014 in Manchester, United Kingdom.
You can also follow ICUH and find out more about urban health problems on twitter at www.twitter.com/icuh2014/