- 1991 - Toruń commences the "Healthy Cities" programme by the World Health Organization
- 1993 - Toruń becomes a member of the Healthy Polish Cities Association
What is the "Healthy Cities" programme?
The "Healthy Cities" programme was introduced in 1988 by the World Health Organization in order to realize – at the local level – the "Health for all" strategy, a campaign used to improve health conditions in the cities, that is the environment and health of their residents.
The "Health for all" rule is based on six premises:
- eradicating inequality in access to health care services between individual countries and within them,
- promoting health as an aid for people to achieve their full physical, mental and social capacities,
- cooperating in various social areas in order to ensure that people may take care of their health and be protected against environmental risks,
- participation of local communities in the activities for health for all,
- ensuring basic health care at the place of work and residence through an efficient health care system,
- international cooperation intended to solve problems connected with health that exceed national borders.
According to WHO, "Healthy City" is a process, not its result. A healthy city is not necessarily a city with a given health status. A "Healthy City" is a city which puts health issues on the relevant priority spot and strives to improve the current situation in this respect.
A Healthy City should try to ensure to its residents:
- clean, safe, high quality natural environment,
- significant participation in undertaking and controlling the decisions on the life of the residents, their health and well-being,
- the possibility of satisfying basic needs (healthy food and water, housing, work, income sufficing to pay for upkeep, safety),
- constant access to health care at a relevantly high level,
- conditions for supporting physical and psychological condition, mutual support and quiet life.
Toruń – "Healthy Cities" project
The project coordinator is Hanna Miller, Director at the Health and Social Policy Department at the City Hall of Toruń. Project office of "Healthy Cities – Toruń" exists within the organizational structure of the City Hall of Toruń at WZiPS. The most important tasks of the Office include:
- collecting and studying the data concerning the health status of Toruń's residents,
- cooperating with other cities realizing the "Healthy Cities" programme both in Poland and abroad,
- initiating and undertaking various activities intended to improve the condition of environment and health of Toruń's residents.
Main activities of the Commune:
- inspiring and supporting initiatives for improving the condition of natural environment, improving the health condition of the residents, activating local communities for joint solving of problems concerning health care and natural environment,
- experience exchange, cooperation with other cities in order to seek new solutions for the realization of the aforementioned purposes.
Priorities for realization:
- promoting healthy lifestyle,
- pro-health and pro-ecological education of residents,
- improving the comfort of functioning for the disabled,
- prevention of diseases: cancers, tobacco-dependant and coronary disease,
- dependencies prevention,
- reducing social pathologies connected with abusing psychoactive drugs,
- improving the condition of the environment within the city.
Health care and prevention programmes are realized under the programme.
Current achievements of the "Healthy Cities" programme include:
- establishing a permanent and active coalition for health,
- working out strict cooperation with the local media, creating the proper climate around giving priority to the health issues and allowing to reach the whole local community with information about health,
- increasing the pro-health and pro-ecological awareness of the residents, expressed by their increased activity and involvement in the suggested actions,
- decrease in the popularity of smoking among the residents,
- growth of physical activity of the residents,
- beneficial change of nutrition habits among the residents,
- high activity of pedagogues/teachers in realizing various health, preventive programmes – adapted to the needs of local communities,
- growing number of teenage health promotion leaders and young volunteers, taking care of the elderly, bedridden, infirm, addicted (alcohol, drugs), AIDS-afflicted, disabled (both seniors and peers),
- consistent realization of the programme of removing architectural barriers for the disabled,
- development of care-therapeutic centres for children from pathological families and families threatened by pathologies (in particular, alcohol abuse),
- developing care-therapeutic centres for the elderly and the chronically ill,
- improving the condition of the natural environment.
In the cases connected with the realization of the programme you can contact the Health and Social Policy Department of the City Hall of Toruń.