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Serian Healthy City


Serian is a District in the Samarahan Division, located at the south-western part of Sarawak, 64 kilometer south-east from Kuching. It has a built-up area of 2,039 sq. km.

In 1990, Serian has a population of 71,874 and increased to 82,042 in 2000. In terms of population by ethnic groups, the majority comes from the Bidayuh (60.5%), followed by Iban (15%), Chinese (12.7%), Malays (11.8%) and others (0.05%).

The main economic activity in Serian is agriculture, i.e. oil palm, cocoa, black pepper, tea, rubber and paddy. Other small-scale industry activities, such as vehicles repair, furniture and wood factory are actively carried out and mostly concentrated in the town centre. During weekends, Serian is often crowded with people visiting to Tebedu, a small town in Serian, which is also the international border post to West Kalimantan.

How Serian Healthy Town Started?

In line with the vision of the Right Honourable Chief Minister and the State Secretary of Sarawak to extend the Healthy City concept to every town in the State, the State Healthy City Secretariat has on invitation send a proposal to Serian District Council to implement the Programme in late 1999. Following this, a series of meetings and discussions between the Sarawak Health Department and Serian District Council were held in 1999-2000.

The objectives are as follows:

  • To create awareness and understanding of Healthy City/Town Concept among the staffs of Serian District Council

  • To study the feasibility of implementation

After several discussions and understanding on the concept of Healthy City/Town Programme, Serian has agreed to take up the challenge to implement the Programme. This idea was then tabled in the Full Council Meeting in December 2000. A Serian Healthy Town committee was also formed, consisting of members from various Departments in Serian was formed.

The Serian Healthy Town Steering Committee was formed to ensure effective and efficient implementation of Healthy Town Serian. The Committee is led by the Chairman of Serian District Council and assisted by the Secretary of Serian District Council. The Secretariat is assigned to the Public Health Division Serian District Council while the members consists of the following:

  • Heads of various Government Agencies

  • Private Sectors

  • Organizations and community members (such as councilors)

The choice of the District Officer as the Chairman was made purposely as he will have the authority over all agencies with Serian District as well as being the chairman of the Local Authority the leading agency in the program. This also helped to ensure a more effective collaboration between the participating agencies.

1st Serian Healthy Town Conference

The 1st Serian Healthy Town Conference was held on 15 – 17 January 2001 and well received by various government and non-government agencies, including the NGOs. The conference was aimed at disseminating the Healthy Town concept to the public and other agencies and gathering opinions and recommendations from the participants for improvement to Serian.

Overall, this Conference was more like a get together to discuss and developed the same understanding across d various participants.

At the opening of the Conference, the Deputy State Secretary (Planning and Development) has pointed out that Serian is already on a right direction towards adopting the Healthy City concept as Serian has been doing well in its town management and development. He went on saying that in view of rapid urbanisation process and urban population growth, we will face more challenges in urban development and urban planning in the future. Healthy City Programme should be looked forward as a guideline to tackle the urbanisation issues and challenges.

The participants have identified the three main dimensions for further development in Serian. They are as follow:

  • Social Dimension: Crime-free, Accident-free and Drug-free;

  • Economic Dimension: Ample job and business opportunity; and

  • Physical Dimension: Adequate infrastructure facilities and public utilities

Implementation and Maintenance of the program

In order to sustain Serian Healthy Town Programme, the Committee members have outlined the following activities to be carried out, which include the following:

  • Tour visits

  • Participating in seminars of other Healthy Towns/Cities programmes

  • Exhibition

  • Extend Healthy Town Concept to Healthy Market Programme

  • Continuous improvement to the present Healthy Market Project

  • Extend Healthy Town Concept to various functions of the Council, looking into several potentials that could be exploited such as Healthy Toilet, Healthy Recreational Park, Healthy Night Stalls and Healthy Pedestrian walk