The Second International Urban Health Workshop was held in San Salvador, El Salvador on 28-29 September, 2017. The activity was organized by ICSU ROLAC, the Third World Academy of Science (TWAS), the Ministry of Health of El Salvador, and ICSU ROLAC Urban Health Working Group. The workshop aimed to know the state of Urban Health in the region, as well as to facilitate and encourage the interaction of successful experiences and ties of cooperation among the participants of the event. This workshop also represented a great opportunity to show the Salvadoran model with other countries of the region.
The head table at the inauguration of the activity was composed by Dr. Julio Robles Ticas, vice minister of Health of El Salvador; Dr. María Isabel Rodríguez, former minister of health, and current advisor to the presidency of El Salvador, Lic. Hernan Luque, PAHO/WHO representative in El Salvador; and Dr. Manuel Limonta, ICSU ROLAC director.
The opening lecture was held by the vice minister of health, Dr. Julio Robles Ticas, who talked about the improvements in El Salvador’s health system, and also about the new Urban Health model, which integrates approximately 12 ministries, working closely and coordinated with clear objectives about this model. He emphasized the importance of addressing the Urban Health issue as a whole, and not into individual efforts by many government and others institutions.
Soon after Dr. Robles Ticas presentation, Lic. Hernan Luque, representative Pan-American Health Organization lectured on the topic: “Urban Health in Latin-America”. Then Dr. Jorge Aragon, Dr. Miguel Ayala, and Dr. Patrick Dely, from Guatemala, Paraguay and Haiti respectively presented about current challenges and successful experiences on Urban Health in their home countries.
Soon after, in the afternoon session, participants were able to hear Dr. Juan Vela, former minister of Higher Education from Cuba, and also Dr. Adalberto Val who talked about “Environment and life Quality”. Then, at the end of the day, the audience could hear presentations from the Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health), and also from the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources). Finally, presenters and participants could have discussion session which concluded with a summary of the day, and the conclusions made by Dr. Limonta.
On the second day of this workshop, attendees were able to hear Dr. Mario Matamoros, from Honduras, and seven presentations from the following institutions: COAMSS/OPAMSS, UES, INDES, SECULTURA, INJUVE, MINED, MOP, all of them governmental institutions from El Salvador. Soon after, all the attendees and presenters group in three different groups in which they discussed the following questions:
What is the status of integration of Urban Health work in the countries of the region?
What are the difficulties that impede better collaboration in Urban Health?
How could collaboration in Urban Health be improved in the region?
What could be future actions, in the short, medium and long term, to be developed in the Urban Health agenda?
After the group discussion, a representative from each group presented a summary of the discussion held within the group.
Finally, Dr. Julio Robles Ticas, and Dr. Manuel Limonta provided final thoughts about the workshop and thanked special guests, presenters, attendees, and organizing organizations for participating in this two-day workshop.
The workshop had participation from representatives of 11 countries, most of them from Latin-America and the Caribbean: Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Paraguay, Jamaica, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Spain, Brazil, Cuba, and El Salvador. It had the direct participation of at least 12 governmental organizations and institutions, and a combined attendance (on both days) of 560 participants, from around 25 universities, government institutions, non-governmental institutions, cooperation agencies, among others. Besides presentations, discussions, and panels, attendees could also visit different stands from various governmental organizations with information actions being carried out on the urban health issue.
Outputs and Future Steps
The workshop has facilitated the participation and interaction at the national and regional level of the participants, emphasizing the importance of facing the Urban Health situation from an integral, multidisciplinary, and interinstitutional approach.
It was agreed by consensus to organize another workshop, if possible, next year at the regional level. Then, a number of work commitments were made between the participating institutions to contribute to urban health work and it was the consensus of the participants to thank the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the International Council for Science (ICSU ROLAC) for coordinating the implementation of this event with the excellent support of MINSAL, TWAS ROLAC and all other organizations part of the ICSU ROLAC Urban Health Working Group.