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Building Healthy Cities in the SDGs Era: Why Should We All Care?

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By 2050, about 60% of the population in the African continent will be urbanised. In Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), rapid urbanisation is giving rise to distinct health trends. Challenges include overcrowding, inadequate sanitation, and limited clean water access, leading to the spread of infectious diseases. Urban areas also grapple with a rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) due to lifestyle changes and poor diets. Air pollution and poor environmental conditions contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular issues. Maternal and child health disparities persist despite better healthcare access, while urban stressors exacerbate mental health problems. Road accidents, healthcare inequalities, and emerging health threats further complicate urban health. As urban populations surge, ensuring sufficient healthcare infrastructure and tackling these multifaceted issues are critical for promoting healthy urban living in LMICs. Health systems need to adapt to meet the needs of growing urban populations, and health professionals can play an important role in leveraging the opportunities that cities may have in meeting Universal Health Coverage (UHC) targets and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Webinar title: Building Healthy Cities in the SDGs Era: Why Should We All Care?

Speaker: Dr. Sebastiana Etzo

Sebastiana A. Etzo is an independent researcher and global health consultant. Her areas of focus as a consultant are health system strengthening, focusing on women’s health and rights, healthy cities and leveraging knowledge, learning and innovations to inform strategies and programmes. With over twenty years of professional experience, Sebastiana enjoys working across different sectors and disciplines to dig into the root causes of health inequities and find creative solutions. She received a Ph.D. in African studies (politics and sociology), but she continues learning and recently completed a post-graduate degree in urbanism and health at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.


  • To introduce the concept of Healthy Cities and frame it within the “Health in All Policies” discourse and, more broadly, the SDGs paradigm.
  • To briefly explain the role of urbanism and urban planning as a health tool.
  • To reflect on the role primary healthcare play in promoting and maintaining healthy equitable cities.

Date: Thursday, 19th of October 2023

Time: 3 pm Central Africa Time (CAT)

Duration: 1 hour

CPD Points: 1