Santa Cruz de la Sierra, June 1, 2023 (PAHO) - The Association of Councilwomen and Mayors of Bolivia (ACOBOL) has pledged to join the initiatives of Healthy Municipalities and Age-Friendly Cities and Communities led by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) at the regional and global levels. These initiatives are implemented in coordination with national, departmental, and municipal health authorities in the country.
Following a meeting to introduce the initiatives sponsored by PAHO/WHO with the financial support of Canada, mayors from different municipalities across the country have committed to creating healthy environments in their municipalities by joining the Bolivian initiative called "Healthy Municipalities for a Good Life." During the meeting, several municipalities were selected based on their readiness to implement these initiatives.
The attending mayors or their delegates represented the municipalities of Loreto, Reyes, San Joaquín, San Ramón, Santa Ana, Villa Tunari, Capinota, Coroico, El Alto, Laja, Teoponte, Toledo, Cobija, Porvenir, Puerto Gonzalo Moreno, Caripuyo, Boyuibe, Colpa Bélgica, El Carmen Rivero, Mairana, Uribichá, and El Puente.
The Healthy Municipalities initiative is a regional movement in the Americas with the objective of implementing health promotion strategies at the local level and strengthening health promotion in the Region.
"A Healthy Municipality commits to improving health, well-being, and equity through the implementation of healthy, intersectoral, and participatory public policies. Each healthy municipality must be based on the values of the universal right to health, social justice, gender equality, solidarity, inclusion, and sustainable development," states the official website.
A Healthy Municipality for a Good Life is one where authorities and communities commit to collectively building the conditions for a healthy life, implementing public policies in their locality, and undertaking intersectoral and intergovernmental actions to promote health and address its social determinants.
On behalf of ACOBOL, the president of ACOCRUZ, África Guzmán, and the president of ACOTAR, Sara Armella, expressed their gratitude for the joint efforts and alliance with PAHO/WHO to improve the quality of life in communities across different municipalities in the country.
According to PAHO, the key to building a healthy municipality or community lies in fostering a change in attitude and concept regarding health promotion. It is essential that the strategy be implemented through intersectoral collaboration, as many determinants of health and quality of life are beyond the scope of the health sector's mandate such as access to clean water, employment opportunities, timely completion of secondary education, prevention of violence against women and family members, among others.
In the near future, the goal is also to establish a Network of Healthy Municipalities for a Good Life in Bolivia.
Age-Friendly Cities and Communities
Furthermore, the mayors who are part of ACOBOL have also committed to creating conditions to become an Age-Friendly Municipality. This initiative aims to make municipalities places that adapt services and physical structures to be more inclusive and responsive to the needs of their population, thus improving their quality of life as they age.
An age-friendly city promotes healthy aging by optimizing resources to improve the health, safety, and inclusion of older people within the community.
The objectives of age-friendly cities are as follows: to work towards providing older people with more opportunities to participate in daily life, age in a healthy manner, and live without fear of discrimination or poverty; to offer older people the opportunity to grow and develop as individuals while contributing to their community; to enable older adults to age with dignity and autonomy; and to promote healthy aging through policies, services, environments, and structures.
For this reason, ACOBOL, in strategic partnership with PAHO/WHO, is inviting mayors of Bolivia to join the Network of Age-Friendly Municipalities and share the good practices implemented in their municipalities through the following link: https://extranet.who.int/agefriendlyworld/application-form/. They can also obtain further information by contacting the mobile line 73275382.