The 2009 Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Area of Urban Health was given to Mrs. Tibaijuka at an international conference on urban health that took place in Nairobi, Kenya. The International Conference on Urban Health drew close to one thousand delegates drawn from all over the world.
The award was presented by Kenya’s Minister for Planning and National Development Mr. Wycliffe Oparanya. During the occasion, the President of International Society for Urban Health, Dr. Jean Christophe Fosto, described Mrs Tibaijuka as “a champion who mobilized action to address the underlying causes of urban health and wellbeing.”
Also congratulating Mrs. Tibaijuka for the achievement was Dr. David Vlahov, the Vice President of New York Academy of Medicine.
In a keynote address she delivered after the award presentation, the Executive Director thanked the global health community for the award. “This award is not a tribute to my personal efforts only. Rather it represents the collective endeavours being made by all of us in addressing the challenges faced by people living in cities,” she said.
Mrs. Tibaijuka said one could not overstate the fact that it is in cities where vulnerabilities that generate poor health are more severe. Highlighting the plight of the urban poor, most of whom are found in slum settlements, she called for intensified efforts to be made in eradicating the conditions that undermine the well being of urban population, particularly that of women, children and the elderly.
“With more than half of the world population now living in urban centres interventions for improving health conditions have to pay attention to the urban setting,” she said, cautioning that such interventions should not be done by neglecting improvements in the rural areas.