Located in Dhaka, the fastest growing megacity in the world, CUEH is well-positioned to analyze and address the health equity impacts of explosive urban population growth. In Bangladesh, most of this growth is occurring in slum settlements characterized by makeshift housing, insecurity of tenure, irregular water and electrical supply, and inadequate sanitation. CUEH is at the forefront of current collaborative efforts to advance an urban health strategy that addresses the needs of poor and disadvantaged urban residents, in partnership with government decision makers, development partners, and implementers.
Given that many of the political, socio-economic and environmental complexities of urban health are not exclusive to Bangladesh, CUEH also nurtures global linkages with individuals and institutions though research, training and policy forums. These collaborations provide opportunities to identify common challenges and innovate cost-effective, intersectoral solutions that can be replicated and adapted to redress urban health inequities within and beyond Bangladesh.
CUEH seeks to attract and train a new generation of urban health entrepreneurs who can problem-solve and apply new technologies and strategies to benefit the poorest and most marginalized. The ultimate goal of the CUEH’s urban health entrepreneur is to innovate for sustainability by engaging community and investing in efforts that build resilience and equity despite the pressures of urban population growth.
A key area of CUEH’s work is to build capacities to address urban health inequities among public health and urban development professionals. Among these capacities are skills and competencies for better governance, inter-sectoral action, needs and impact assessment, as well as program design, implementation and evaluation.CUEH supports internship opportunities and incorporates experiential learning into all of its training programmes. Short-term courses and post-graduate fellowships for students and professionals working in the area of urban health, development and planning are also offered, such as the Urban Equity and Health Fellowship, a one-year programme that provides 3 months of course work and a 9 month practicum attached to an organization addressing urban health and development issues.
The rapid changing and concentrated context of urban areas does not lend itself to traditional approaches to research and policy analysis and action used in rural settings. CUEH ‘s current work on urban health governance, community engagement and accountability, facility mapping and slum-appropriate service delivery models, are contributing towards this emerging area of research, policy analysis and action.
CUEH models good governance practices by embracing a broad participation of relevant sectors (health, housing, transport etc.) and stakeholders (development partners, local government, NGOs etc), and applying evidence-based approaches to building consensus, aligning resources and coordinating action.