Stakeholders identify urban planning as a serious health issue

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Synagogue Church of All Nations, Accra
Synagogue Church of All Nations, Accra

A two-day stakeholder planning workshop, aimed to develop a strategic plan towards improving health conditions of urban settlements has ended at Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region.

The stakeholders would also design slum improvement plan that would provide how sustainable urban development can be achieved towards the maintenance of good health in those communities.

The research efforts players would create new methodological and translational innovations that would integrate, and move beyond discipline specific approaches to address a common problems in the urban communities facing the provision of essential amenities.

It brought together experts and practitioners in the field of sustainable urban development and health, working closely with local communities, municipal officials, and development partners under the “Developing Resilient African Cities and their Urban Environments.”

It was organised by DREAMS, a transdisciplinary research project, made up of investigators from different disciplines, in partnership with the University of Ghana and funded by Belmont Forum, an international partnership that mobilizes funding for environmental change to remove critical barriers to sustainability.

Dr Maame Gyeke-Jandoh, Head of the Department of Political Science and School of Social Sciences, University of Ghana, who was the leader of the Ghana Dreams’ Team, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency expressed concern about the health issues of slum communities in Africa, and urged participants to identify key initiatives and action items to guide their efforts to design slum environment in the context of knowledge co-development.

She said through the workshop participants would gain understanding of the challenges communities were facing, adding that “We will work together to overcome them,” and strategically plan the slum development to reduce the impact by identifying the best approaches to the challenges.

Dr Gyeke-Jandoh said: “There is a limit of the authorities but the biggest challenges rested on the people themselves and how they perceived issues of their health within the localities.”

Mr Francis Hans-Jorie, President of the City 2000 Youth Action International (C2YA), a non-governmental organisation and local partners of DREAM Project, and member of the Economic Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) who welcomed the participants said: “We are witnessing the urbanization and slums being created in most part of our cities” and urged the participants to intensify their research efforts process to ensure a healthy quality environment.

“This is why it has become important to bring stakeholders to deliberate on the best practices of upgrading slums to help the livelihood and health conditions of the people,” he stated.

Professor Christine Furst, Head of DREAM Project International, presenting an overview of the programme, said people went to the cities because they wanted to have a better economic condition.

“We have to have a knowledge of why they are migrating and for them to understand it better. It’s a big opportunity to see how African and cities can work together to ensure good basic amenities,” she said.

Professor Henry Bulley, a member of DREAM Project who also spoke on the Charrette, a workshop devoted to a concerted effort to solve a problem or plan the design of something, urged the participants to engage the community members to find a sustainable solution to the problems.

“The solution of the informal settlement would never be achieved unless we linked it up with what is happening in the communities and find best practices to these problems,” he stated.

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