World Health Day

Urban health issues: Photo gallery

All images may be downloaded and used, provided credit is given to WHO and photographers as mentioned with individual photos.

Photos page 1

Urban centres offer cultural, economic, and educational opportunities and can contribute to our well-being. However, urbanization is also associated with many health challenges related to water, environment, violence and injury, noncommunicable diseases as well as the risks associated with disease outbreaks.

City scapes and scenes

Aerial view of São Paolo, Brazil
WHO/Chris De Bode

By 2030, six out of 10 people will live in cities.

Street scene, Jakarta, Indonesia
WHO/Anna Kari

One of the less positive features of urban life is the inequities that exist only kilometers apart.

Street scene, Kathmandu, Nepal
WHO/Christopher Black

Urban transport and road safety are challenges for municipalities in all parts of the world.

Street scene, Kiev, Ukraine

Heavy traffic can bring pollution, injury risks to pedestrians and cyclists and inhibits physical activity.

Call to action 1: Promote urban planning for healthy behaviours and safety

Urban planning can promote healthy behaviours and safety in many different ways. This includes design for physical activity in cities, where healthy food is available, safe, accessible and affordable, where health services for all are provided and where roads are safe.

Police officer helping directing traffic, Kigali, Rwanda
WHO/Riccardo Gangale

Road safety: police officer directing traffic, Kigali, Rwanda.

Market, Pointe Noire, Congo

Access to healthy foods in a market in Pointe Noire, Congo

Call to action 2: Improve urban living conditions

Improvements in housing and housing conditions, control of pollution and improvement in water and sanitation go a long way to mitigating health risks. Land security and tenure is a foundation on which health can be built. Squatter settlements are often illegal but generally represent the only option open to poor people, migrant or local, in search of shelter. Informal settlements are rarely provided with basic social services.

City slum, Freetown, Sierra Leone
WHO/Chris De Bode

Over 90% of urban slums are in the developing world.

Child washing hands at public toilet, New Delhi, India
WHO/Anita Khemka

Improving access to safe water and sanitation can bring health improvements.

Call to action 3: Ensure participatory urban governance

Local participatory governance mechanisms should be established that enable communities and local governments to partner in building healthier and safer cities. Good urban governance means paying attention to concerns and planning horizons that extend beyond current needs.

Meeting, Buner District, Pakistan
WHO/Jan Brouwer

Involving multiple stakeholders in local decision-making.