Urban health matters, in critical ways, for more and more people. According to WHO findings, for the first time in history, more people are now living in urban settings than in rural areas. By the year 2030, an estimated six out of every ten people will be living in towns or cities, with the most explosive growth expected in Asia and Africa. The world’s population as a whole is expected to grow by 2.5 billion from 2007 to 2050, with the cities and towns of developing countries absorbing almost all of these additional people. Particularly in developing countries as ours, urban poverty is designated as a fundamental problem leading to health hazards as a result of unplanned urban growth.
Asia has by far the highest number of city dwellers living in slums – the problem is worst in South Asia, where half of the urban population is composed of slum dwellers. The urban population growth in Asia is 2.3 compared to 0.14 in Europe. The number of cities with populations of one million or more is likely to increase from 194 to 288 by 2015. Over the next 25 years, Asia’s urban population will grow by around 70% to more than 2.6 billion people, says ADB reports. An additional billion people will have urban habitats. This transformation will involve major change for Asian societies with new forms of housing, employment, consumption, and social interaction for individuals and communities.
As for Bangladesh, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for mitigating poverty can only be addressed through government and non-government interventions that involves as well as give priority to both rural and urban communities. The State of World Population 2007 report has identified Dhaka as one of the fastest growing cities in the world with over 11 million people and about 27 per cent of the total population of Bangladesh lives in the urban area. The urban population growth rate is projected to be 3.5 per cent per year up to 2010. This number is expected to swell to almost five billion by 2030. Hence it is very much predictable that in coming years, the capital city will be burdened with poverty and ill health many times greater than that of the rural areas.
In order to effectively address health concerns of urban population, civil society needs to take active part to promote, support and protect health justice to the poor–non-poor and slum–non-slum dwellers of the city. Having realized the imperative requirement of a strong support, fostering and backup as well as an aggregate effort for awareness building and overseeing the proper implications of existing health policy and interventions, Eminence has structured Bangladesh Urban Health Network (BUHN) at national level in collaboration with thirty national and international organizations. Partnerships and developing forum mechanisms works to ensure the harmonization of health and development activities. RTM International initiated to form this network on Urban Health in the country back in 2007. Eventually, on January 18, 2010, consultation between RTM International and Eminence resulted in facilitating Bangladesh Urban Health Network (BUHN) for combined efforts in the urban health of the country. The network intends to play the role of a pressure group as well as policy advocate for creating a platform for the stakeholders in urban health sector to work together for health justice. BUHN also encourages government’s cooperation in this process for enabling meaningful and lasting public-private partnerships.
Purpose of the Network
The purpose of the network is to promote improved urban health in Bangladesh through enhanced coordination and cooperation between GoB, development partners, national and international NGOs and other stakeholders. BUHN aims to establish linkage among the organizations which are working in Bangladesh in the sector of urban health, so that the organizations can exchange related information and experience between them. BUHN Network shall create a platform and make partnership among the members for conducting research, program planning and implementation, advocacy at different level etc. BUHN aims to create a dynamic model of information exchange between the members of the Network and with the community through networks, advocacy activities, mass media participation, workshop, community mobilization, round table, conference and press conference etc.
BUHN shall be a sustainable national network of civil society members in Bangladesh for research and exchange of knowledge, promote and apply more effective policy and strategies to achieve health equity in urban settings worldwide.
BUHN is a civil society network that advances the generation, exchange, and application of high quality urban health knowledge across academics, policy makers, implementers, and communities to attain health equity in urban settings nationwide.