Sharjah residents can walk with an extra spring in their step after the emirate was named the region’s first healthy city by the World Health Organisation.
The ranking follows the emirate’s adherence to virtually all the criteria relating to the WHO’s Healthy Cities programme, the state news agency Wam reported.
The WHO states on its website that the healthy city programme “is a long-term international development initiative that aims to place health high on the agendas of decision makers and to promote comprehensive local strategies for health protection and sustainable development”.
Sheikh Essam bin Saqr Al Qasimi, adviser at the Ruler’s Office and president of the steering committee said “the recognition came as a result of work by all sectors to provide the necessary health services”, based on the directives of Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler, Wam said.
Sheikh Essam praised the collaboration between residents and various sectors in fulfilling the requirements of joining the programme.
Sheikh Essam said the title was a major achievement for the emirate, which puts the health of its people at the forefront of its priorities.
The title, he added, solidifies Sharjah’s position on the global map and supports its leading role as the first emirate to execute the WHO’s programme at the regional level.
Being named a healthy city also ties in with the emirate’s vision to continually improve services.
Inclusion in the programme required meeting 80 per cent of the WHO’s 80 criteria, at a minimum, with Sharjah able to meet 88 per cent. Sheikh Essam said that under the guidance of the Ruler, the emirate had been able to meet 50 per cent of the requirements before joining the programme.