Urban Health Think-Tank Group
Following the population boom, cities become the predominant mode of living and the major challenge for public health and particularly so in the 21st century. Ethiopia has been experiencing one of the most rapid urbanization over the last half of the century. This rapid urban growth, however, has not been accompanied by a commensurate increase in basic infrastructure and amenities that are essential for a healthy urban living, resulting in a deterioration of urban residents and increasingly serious health problems. This is due to the overwhelming challenge in the provision of basic services such as water and sanitation, food security, health and social care. The consequence is severe particularly on the urban poor.
II. Rationale for think tank group
Understanding how the urban context shapes population health is critical in an endeavor to improve urban life. In as much as urbanization offers opportunities, there are several challenges urban setting poses to healthy life of urban residents.
In recognition of health challenges in urban setting, Federal Ministry of health collaborated with USAID on a project entitled “Strengthening Ethiopia’s Urban Health Program (SEUHP)”. JSI as an implementing partner to USAID is now working in 49 urban settings in the country with an objective to improve the health status of the urban population by reducing HIV/tuberculosis (TB) related and maternal, neonatal and child mortality and the incidence of communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
In order to improve its response and draw on scientific evidence in its response to urban health, JSI has further collaborated with the School of Public Health (SPH) of the Addis Ababa University. Among others, the collaboration aims to generate evidences for programmatic policy/strategic response to improve urban health. In recognition of the multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary nature of urban health, SPH in consultation with JSI establishes a group representing different sectors, disciplines and motivation that are directly or otherwise associated to urban development in general and urban health in particular. This group is named as “Urban Health Think-Thanks in Ethiopia”.
III. General Objective
The main objective of “Urban Health Think-Thanks in Ethiopia” is to provide discussion forum on urban health development in view of global, regional and country level contexts. The forum is expected to generate state of the art ideas/opinions that may contribute to improved urban health programming and policy guidance.
The specific objectives of “Urban Health Think-Thanks in Ethiopia” are the following:
Establish forum for constructive dialogue on current state of urban development in general and urban health in particular in Ethiopia
Provide forum for urban health stakeholders to share experiences and scale best practices
Generate evidences, strategies of interventions and best practices on urban development in general and urban health in particular for programmatic and policy use
Synthesize evidences on urban vulnerability to health problems and coping strategies for policy briefs.
IV. Think-Tank Group Members
The group established based on some criterion representing different stakeholders and personalities. In order to ensure wider participation, two teams (an extended team with an initial membership of 43 organizations and selected individuals based on their established experience on urban health issues and small but more focused team composed of 15 members)are suggested. Thus, extended team will meet twice a year while the smaller group will meet every quarter.
Chairs and Secretary
The group is chaired by FMoH/Primary Health Care directorate and co-chaired by relevant public sectors to be designated by the think tank group. Secretariat role is played by the School of Public Health/Addis Ababa University.