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Cities taking on opioid crisis, poor nutrition, tobacco use and other leading causes of premature death and disease

Statement from José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer at Vital Strategies, on Bloomberg Philanthropies’ $12 million reinvestment to expand Partnership for Healthy Cities:

“When cities prioritize health and safety, people live longer and better lives. Bike lanes, smoke-free public places, and healthy foods in schools are just a few of the ways that cities can transform the spaces where people live, work and play, into environments that protect and promote health.

With more than 55% of people now living in cities globally, our healthiest future lies in urban action. Today’s expansion of the flagship Partnership for Healthy Cities means the initiative has the potential to improve the lives of more than 300 million people worldwide. We applaud the mayors and city leaders whose collective commitment have formed a truly global movement. And we thank Bloomberg Philanthropies for empowering this engine for change with a $12 million reinvestment, fueling an expansion to 70 cities.

“It is encouraging to see cities taking action across in an increasing number of health areas, with a new list of 14 interventions spanning the leading urban health challenges, including preventing opioid-related overdose deaths, and establishing citywide nutritional standards.

Today’s announcement follows remarkable progress across the globe: Quito, Ecuador replaced junk food with healthy options for 50% of public school students—expanding to 100% next year; Accra, Ghana redesigned a highway crossing with the highest rate of road crashes and fatalities and saw a nearly 35% reduction in serious injuries at the site; and as part of a citywide effort to enforce India’s 2008 Smoke Free Law, Bengaluru reduced the amount of smoking in public spaces by nearly 25%. We are honored to continue the implementation of this landmark urban public health initiative alongside our partners at Bloomberg Philanthropies and the World Health Organization.”

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) – cancers, diabetes, heart disease and lung disease – now kill far more people than infectious diseases, and are responsible for eight in 10 deaths globally. Road injuries add an additional layer to the challenge, serving as the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 29 years old. Today’s announcement brings the total invested in the program to $20.5 million.

About the Partnership for Healthy Cities:

The Partnership for Healthy Cities is a prestigious global network of cities committed to saving lives by preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Vital Strategies, the initiative enables cities around the world to deliver a high-impact policy or programmatic intervention to reduce risk factors in their communities.

For more information on the Partnership for Healthy Cities, please visit: https://www.vitalstrategies.org/programs/partnership-healthy-cities/