State scheme to promote healthy inner-city areas to become permanent – PM

Healthy neighbourhoods programme involves seven ministries

Prime minister António Costa has announced today that the Healthy Neighbourhoods programme, coordinated at national level by architect Helena Roseta, is to become permanent, with new versions every three years.

Mr  Costa made his announcement at the Aberto Theatre, in Lisbon, at the closing of the “Bairros Saudáveis prestam contas” (Healthy neighbourhoods render accounts) event, which saw interventions by health minister Manuel Pizarro and was also attended by minister for territorial cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa.

“My first words are congratulations for the extraordinary mobilisation and social energy that has been committed to this programme” which involves seven government ministries, he said. 

The programme began in July 2020, with a budget of €10 million, and has allowed for 240 projects to be executed and 145,000 people “from north to south” of the country to be supported.

Of the 240 projects carried out, 70 were in the North, 34 in the Centre, 93 in Lisbon and Tagus Valley, 27 in the Alentejo and 16 in the Algarve, with a 98% execution rate.

These projects involved the participation of 1,515 entities, including 655 associations and private non-profit entities from the solidarity sector, 371 local authorities, 108 entities from the national health system (SNS), 136 other public entities and 245 informal voluntary entities.

As a result of the implementation of these projects, 56 associations, eight cooperatives and 27 companies have emerged, Helena Rosetta explained, and 16.344 health promotion initiatives carried out “in a wide range of areas, namely diabetes, food and mental health”.

The last three years has also seen 682 interventions to improve public spaces and promote the environment (cleaning, removal of toxic products, equipment and creation of vegetable allotments) and 2,089 environmental education initiatives.

With regard to housing, the programme made it possible to make small interventions in 677 dwellings, improving the living conditions of 2,470 people, said Ms Rosetta.

Accessibility was also improved for 164 people with reduced mobility, and access to water, sanitation and energy networks was improved for 121 homes.

In addition, the total or partial payment of 407 jobs was financed during the implementation of the projects, of which 284 remain.

Helena Roseta continued with this positive tally saying that of the 145,000 who have benefited, 28,913 are children and teens, up to 17 years old; 26,699 are young people between 18 and 24 years old, 69,941 are adults between 25 and 64 years old, and 20,341 are aged 65 and over.

Beneficiaries include 20,024 immigrants and 1,133 people with disabilities, she added.

Source material: LUSA