Accra Mayor Mohammed Adjei Sowah announced a major highway redesign last week in the Ghanaian capital, a Partnership for Healthy Cities initiative aimed at saving lives at a perilous crossing where pedestrians and drivers alike are killed at alarming rates.
“The Lapaz intersection has been identified as the site with the highest road crashes in the city, and [the city government] under this Partnership for Healthy Cities is determined to change the narrative about the intersection,” Mayor Sowah told reporters on Wednesday, December 13th, speaking at the launch of several projects under the city’s Pedestrian Road Safety Action Plan.
The Accra launch was one of four in December under the Partnership, a network of more than 50 cities taking preventive measures against the steep rise worldwide in noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries. The Partnership was started by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his role as World Health Organization (WHO) Global NCD Ambassador as a way of helping harness the unique power of cities at a time when a majority of the world’s population live in urban areas.
Under the 18-month Partnership, cities choose from among ten evidence-based public health interventions, with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, WHO—and Vital Strategies as implementing partner.
The other three cities announcing their initiatives this month were Amman, Jordan; Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; and Kathmandu, Nepal:
Amman’s smoke-free initiative, announced on Wednesday, December 6th, involves stepped up enforcement of smoking restrictions, a series of workshops for educating stakeholders and a mass media campaign. The public announcement came at the first workshop in the series, this one devoted to how the plan would affect restaurants and hookah bars.
Ouagadougou is focusing on healthy food, specifically meals served in public places. The city’s Partnership initiative was unveiled on Thursday, December 14th at a three-day meeting where stakeholders drafted citywide nutritional and hygiene standards.
Mayor Armand Pierre Béouindé pointed out in a speech that residents of the Burkina Faso capital are especially reliant on street food and restaurants for their meals, so improving the healthiness of such food can have a significant effect.
Finally, in Kathmandu on Friday, December 15th, there was an early morning march through the streets of the capital followed by a speech by Mayor Bidhya Sunder Shakya to announce the city’s Partnership smoke-free initiative. Kathmandu’s plan includes surveys to assess public opinion, training of city and national police, extensive development of new signage and a mass media campaign.