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Spotlight: Critical Reflections on ICUH 2017

Dec 28, 2017

What were some of the knowledge gaps that emerged during the 14th International Conference on Urban Health?

Masuma Mamdani, Ifakara Health Institute

Masuma Mamdani, Ifakara Health Institute

“A conceptual framework for tackling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) isn’t there and it’s going to mimic the failures of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) because it doesn’t facilitate an integrated approach to these problems. We are missing indicators for the SDGs, and the SDGs aren’t inclusive of the urban agenda, so the indicators we have do not allow for the intra –urban variability and enable us to capture the complexity of urban dynamics. We need to develop dynamic and representative indicators that will tell us what’s happening in urban settings. We then need to monitor progress using those indicators, because we need data to move forward the agenda. As stated by the Mayor of Coimbra, Portugal, “what you don’t know won’t move. There’s a need for data tools and analysis that’s not there.”

Thoughts on urban health moving forward?

“Moving forward we need to prioritize youth and mental health. We’ve seen here at ICUH that youth are a global priority, and the future of the world is the youth in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).  The informal youth are particularly important because they are the most affected and we need to consider how best to work with them. We also need to examine the intersection of youth, migration and mobility, and look at the structural determinants to find the solution.”

“It would also be good to link HEARD’s efforts in East Africa to the South African network and Tolu Oni, at University of Cape Town. Her methodologies, tools and focus are all aligned with ours and they have already begun bringing people together across Africa. We need to learn how she’s doing it.”