Health & Fitness

Africities agenda good for healthcare

Guest arrive in Kisumu for Africities Summit

Delegates arrive for the 9th edition of the five-day Africities Summit conference at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium, Kisumu. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NMG

Summary

  • The aim of Africities is to strengthen the role of local and regional governments in the development of the continent and to help build the integration and unity of Africa from its territories.
  • As a principal intermediary city in western Kenya, Kisumu can be used as a case example of how a city-wide approach can be implemented in tracking healthcare needs of an urban population.

This week, the 9th Africities Summit will be held in Kisumu, Kenya. The theme of this year’s summit is: “The Role of Intermediary Cities of Africa in the Implementation of Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and the African Union Agenda 2063”.

The agenda calls for the urgent need to develop resilient and sustainable urbanization in Africa, cognizant of the fact that by 2050 the bulk of African population will be living in cities.

The aim of Africities is to strengthen the role of local and regional governments in the development of the continent and to help build the integration and unity of Africa from its territories.

The summit congregates ministers; mayors, leaders and elected officials of local and regional governments; civil society organizations; traditional authorities; representatives of the African diaspora; economic actors; experts, researchers and academics; financial institutions; and development partners.

Kisumu, founded in the early 19th Century mainly as the main inland terminal of the Uganda railway, was the major port of Lake Victoria during the commonwealth of East Africa, then known as Port Florence.

As a principal intermediary city in western Kenya, Kisumu can be used as a case example of how a city-wide approach can be implemented in tracking healthcare needs of an urban population. There are new technology tools that can be used to support this agenda.

A key example of this is the use of geographic information systems (GIS) for urban planning. GIS can be used to map the location of every household in the city after which key data on public health can be collected for city dwellers.

This includes attributes such as age, gender, occupation and pre-existing illnesses of public health concern while ensuring that confidentiality is safe-guarded with uttermost fidelity. Thereafter, such a database can be updated at intervals in order to maintain accuracy.

This is an example of a health data surveillance system and is a powerful tool for urban health planning for policymakers.