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World Fair on Municipalities and Health opens in Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 18 August 2009 (PAHO) - Until 21 August, Argentina is hosting the first World Fair on Municipalities and Health: Rights, Citizenship, and Integrated Local Management for Development, one of the year’s most important international health events, with around 3,000 participants expected. The Fair will highlight the experiences of municipalities within and outside the country that have improved the living conditions of their communities. Six United Nations (UN) agencies will participate with presentations, talks, book reviews, and awards.

Organized by Argentina’s Ministry of Health and sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the United Nations Information Center for Argentina and Uruguay (UNIC), the purpose of the event being held in the Costa Salguero Center is to promote the healthy municipalities and cities strategy and to work together to develop more inclusive, equitable, and participatory health models.

The first day of the Fair will close with a presentation by the Director of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, who will speak about "Municipalities, Health and Integrated Management: An Opportunity to Support the Exercise of Civil Rights." Eleonor Faur, UNFPA Liaison Officer – Argentina, will discuss "Human Rights and Reproductive Health." Under the item "Information and Knowledge as Public Goods to Improve Social Participation in Health," Gustavo Poch, UNIC Public Information Officer, will coordinate the coffee bar discussion, with Zulma Ortiz, of UNICEF, and Abel Packer, of BIREME, PAHO's Specialized Health Center contributing their ideas to virtual information exchange and knowledge development.

UNDP will present "The Responsible Buyer," a guide that will serve as the frame of reference for the design and development of a supply management system for public health services. That same day, Daniel Kostzer, coordinator of the Social Development Area of UNDP- Argentina, will give a talk on "The United Nations and the Millennium Development Goals."

The speakers will also include Bernardo Kliksberg, Senior Adviser of the UNDP Office for Latin America and the Caribbean; Luiz Augusto Galvão, PAHO Manager of the Area of Sustainable Development and Environmental Health; Marilyn Rice, PAHO Senior Adviser in Health Promotion; Erio Ziglio, Director of the WHO European Office for Investment in Health and Development; Nina Wallerstein, public health expert from the University of Mexico; Carolyn Stephens, Professor of Human Rights and Indigenous Health of the University of London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Oscar Centrángolo, of ECLAC.

During the four days of the Fair, presentations will be made on 47 municipal experiences in Argentina (Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, Tucumán, Jujuy, La Rioja, San Juan, Black Río, and Santa Cruz) and beyond (Australia, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay). There will also be an information and knowledge management room, where people will be trained in how to access and use scientific knowledge.

The purpose of the event is to strengthen the Healthy Municipalities, Cities, and Communities Network in the Americas and create new connections that will permit the export and adaptation of successful experiences to different latitudes.

According to official data, Argentina has a little over 2,100 municipalities, 628 of which (around 30%) are part of the Healthy Municipios Network. They work together to develop health; promote smoke-free environments, physical activity and sports; strengthen primary care, addiction prevention, and healthy lifestyles; and support productive microenterprises, among other activities.

The VIII National Healthy Municipalities and Communities Day and the XIII International Course on Physical Activity and Public Health, "Get Moving World," will also be held within this framework, and three communities from the Americas will receive an award for the best activities, which will be evaluated by a team of experts.

The organizers of the Fair will issue a final report that will be distributed with other materials from the event at the WHO Global Conference on Health Promotion, scheduled for next November in Nairobi, Kenya.

For more information please contact the PAHO/WHO Office in Argentina, Sebastian Oliel, Communications Officer, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Tel + 011-54-11 4893-7600, ext.16 - www.paho.org

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