World Health Organisation (WHO) formally declared Sharjah the first WHO Healthy City of the region at a special ceremony held in Sharjah. His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, received the WHO’s Healthy City Adoption Citation from Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.
The emirate was selected for this citation earlier this year, after Sharjah had met the majority of criteria set by the WHO Healthy Cities Programme. A report of WHO presented on the occasion confirmed that Sharjah, which joined WHO Healthy Cities Programme in 2012 as a part of the vision and efforts of the Ruler of Sharjah to put health at the top of the development agenda of the emirate, had more than complied with the basic WHO criteria for being selected as the first Healthy City in the region under the new criteria of the world body.
The world body lauded the emirate for taking measures to improve the healthcare system and social welfare infrastructure, while embracing responsible environment policies and practices, such as waste management and sustainable development, in line with the WHO Healthy Cities Programme. It called for replicating Sharjah’s successful model globally.
A presentation was made on the method of assessment and selection for the WHO Healthy Cities Programme, the quality of responsive healthcare and infrastructure in Sharjah and the coordination between various stakeholders in Sharjah to ensure the emirate met the strict criteria of the world health body. The WHO officials praised the emergency response and crisis management centre in the emirate, describing it as one of the best in the region and worth emulating by others.
Sheikh Essam Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Adviser at the Ruler of Sharjah’s Office and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Sharjah’s WHO Healthy Cities Programme, said the WHO honour was the inevitable outcome of the emirate’s efforts guided by the vision of Sheikh Sultan.
“This recognition by the WHO came as a cumulative result of a number of initiatives and projects aligned with the vision of Sharjah, which aspires to become a role model for healthy cities around the globe. This achievement came after more than three years of mobilising efforts and harnessing resources,” Sheikh Essam Bin Saqr Al Qasimi said.
He also thanked WHO for the technical support extended throughout to the emirate and all the federal government bodies, Sharjah government departments and the people of Sharjah for their cooperation.