Research and policy to improve urban health across Latin America

The Academy of Medical Sciences, convened a policy workshop on research and policy to improve urban health across Latin America on the 9-10 March 2020 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Status: Completed

The Academy of Medical Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine of Brazil and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences convened a policy workshop on the research and policy to improve urban health across Latin America within the context of UHC on the 9-10 March 2020 in Brazil. 

A meeting report was produced and disseminated to stakeholders in the UK and the region. This report outlines the need for a more coordinated approach to urban health research across Latin America.

The report can be downloaded from the Downloads tab on the right hand side of the page.


Watch our short animation which summarises the discussion and proposed actions to address Urban health research in Latin America:

More than half of the world’s population, 3.5 billion people, now live in urban areas. With this figure growing rapidly, it is estimated to reach 70% by 2050. People living in urban areas experience increased rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), violence and injuries, infectious disease and alcohol and substance abuse. Furthermore, cities are seeing increasing levels of health and socioeconomic inequalities.

Although average levels of health are still higher than in most rural areas, the health benefit of living in an urban environment is increasingly diminishing as people, especially those in socially and economically disadvantaged groups, are exposed to an increasing number of health hazards. Urban environments are becoming the epicentres of the NCD epidemic. This inequality is a barrier to achieving many of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), including achieving Good Health and Wellbeing.

This issue is particularly pressing in Latin America, which is urbanising at a faster rate than other regions meaning 80% of the population now live in urban areas. This is considerably higher than Africa (40%) and Asia (48%). Furthermore, the region is also burdened by large social inequalities, which manifests in large cities with 19 of the world’s 30 most ‘unequal’ cities being located in the region. To tackle this issue many Latin American cities have started implementing interventions to improve urban health.

This workshop brought together experts and evidence from Latin America and the UK to examine how Urban environment impacts health and the barriers and challenges to ensuring all individuals and communities have access to quality health care to promote good Urban Health.  

Urban health research in Latin America workshop group photo

Participants of the workshop on Urban health research in Latin America

Click here to find out more about our previous GCRF workshops including our workshop on Achieving Universal Health Coverage in LMICs: the role of quality of care research and read the workshop reports.

This workshop is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund that aims to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. Visit our GCRF webpage to read more about the fund. 

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