An Indonesian student, Ms. Asma Binti Mujahid was one of the Speakers of the 19th International Children’s Health Conference Karachi, held at Beach Luxury Hotel on Tuesday 06 April, 2010, along with the Student Speakers from Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Japan. The Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, Karachi, represented by Mrs. Merita Yenni, on the invitation from Ms. Sadia Rashid, President, Hamdard Foundation Pakistan, to give complement the Indonesian Student participating the 19th International Children’s Health Conference. The Conference under the topic ‘Urbanization: A Challenge for Public Health’.
In her opening speech, Ms. Sadia Rashid welcomed the participating delegates and the guests. She highlighted the importance of the subject. She said that during her childhood she was used to told that her country is an agriculture based economy and about 80% of the population lives in rural area and only 20% in urban areas. Over the years, there has been a gradual shift in statistics. In 2007, statisticians announced that for the first time in history, the world’s population living in cities had surpassed the 50% mark. She said that almost all of us have personal knowledge of some people who have left their villages or small towns and come to the city to earn a better living and then, one by one, come other family members to join them and the cities swell. She informed the Students that as necessities seemingly shrink, so health hazards – direct or indirect - grow pollution, communicable or chronic diseases, increased risk of violence, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, addictions. She said that WHO’s theme for this year’s World Health Day is “Urbanization: A challenge for Public Health”. Who hoped that the new generation and the students will be part of the solution by participating in the International Children’s Health Conference, being organized by Hamdard Foundation Pakistan and Hamdard Public School.
Ms. Asma Binti Mujahid was very confident in elaborating and reading her paper and said that the rapid increase of people living in cities will be among the most important global health issues of the 21st century. Over half the world’s population now live in cities, By 2030, six out of every 10 people will be city dwellers, rising to seven out of every 10 people by 2050. This process of urbanization around the world especially in Third World countries is likely to pose new challenges in governance and urban service delivery. The rapid and uncontrolled sprawl of today’s cities breeds anxiety not only among urban planners and architects. Experts in the field of public health are alarmed as well, for the apparent randomness of the urban dynamic is robbing the population of its basic health and well-being through unregulated environmental pollution, non-existent or poor solid waste management, noise and air pollution, shrinking, green areas, inadequate housing, overburdened public services, a mushrooming of makeshift settlements on the outskirts lacking in both infrastructure and services, mounting anomie and the sheer numbers of neighbor. These are some of the glaring threats that most cities will have to deal with.
In the concluding remarks Ms. Asma Binti Mujahid said that the last but not the least, that in the Educational Institutional level, students should be give worth knowledge about their environment particularly about the urbanization in the cities and its multiple impacts on health, both in term of subject curriculum and social extra curricular practices. This would help the student such like me and my fellows would help the future cities become more healthy and green.
The Student Speakers from Karachi, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore and Quetta also participate d the Conference and read their papers. Dr. Khalif Bile Mohammad, WHO Representative also addressed the Conference and thanks the students for presenting such wonderful ideas and implication.