Healthy Environments for Children Alliance

Healthy Environments for Children Alliance listserv

The Healthy Environments for Children Alliance listserv (HECANET) is an international mailing list dedicated to promoting healthy environments for children. The list provides updates on the activities of the Healthy Environments for Children Alliance (HECA), advocacy tools and information resources, relevant meeting announcements, and reports on technical research and monitoring related to environmental risks to children's health.


29-09-03

  • HECA at the International Healthy Cities Conference
  • Building the National HEC Alliance in South Africa
  • Healthy Environments for Children WHO/AMG Round Table
  • Inauguration of the IPA Committee on Children's Environmental Health
  • Child and Adolescent Health and Development Technical Briefing
  • New Educational Package to Protect Children from UV Radiation
  • 3rd International Conference on Children's Health and Environment
  • Children's Health and the Environment: A Review of Evidence
  • Child Friendly Cities Database

HECA at the International Healthy Cities Conference

Entitled "The Power of Local Action", the International Healthy Cities Conference (Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, 19-22 October 2003) is structured around four themes related to action for health and sustainable development. These are: building strong partnerships, alliances, and networks; tackling the wider determinants of health; designing supportive environments to meet the needs of all citizens; and creating effective policies, strategies, and tools for action. HECA will be organizing an interactive panel discussion on 20 October (16:15-17:45) at the conference. The purpose of the panel discussion is to exchange information, knowledge, best practices, lessons learned and build on networks from the perspective of healthy cities experiences and Healthy Environments for Children activities in countries. More information: http://www.healthycitiesbelfast2003.com/.

Building the National HEC Alliance in South Africa

Following World Health Day 2003 events in South Africa (for a report on World Health Day events see http://www.mrc.ac.za), the South African Minister of Health announced the formation of a Steering Committee to build a Healthy Environments for Children Alliance in South Africa. The steering committee has held several planning meetings in recent months and formed working groups to focus on the following action areas: household energy, environmental lead exposure, water and sanitation, unintentional injuries, child abuse, tobacco exposure, and settings. All working groups have been tasked with developing action plans, which will be considered at the Healthy Environments for Children – South Africa Summit planned for March 2004. As part of the Summit planning process, a mini-review of the main environmental threats to child health in South Africa will be prepared. Following the Summit, the Healthy Environments for Children Alliance – South Africa will be formally launched.

Healthy Environments for Children WHO/AMG Round Table

The Fondation pour Geneve, in conjunction with the World Health Organization and the Association des Medecins du canton de Geneve (AMG), will be hosting a round table discussion on healthy environments for children (9:30-12:45, 21 October 2003, WHO HQ). Presentations will be made by experts from WHO, AMG, and cantonal departments followed by discussions around the following themes: why an alliance in favour of a healthy environment for children; the physical environment as a factor of risks - home, school, and community; and the social environment - life styles and behavioural aspects. In addition, there will be a session presenting solutions that adopt integrated approaches to children's environmental health issues. It is envisaged that the round table will allow for exchange, providing both global and local perspectives on environmental threats to children's health and ways to ensure healthy environments for children. More information (in PDF): http://www.who.int/heca/infomaterials/en/roundtable_oms_amg.pdf.

Inauguration of the IPA Committee on Children's Environmental Health

The inaugural meeting of the International Pediatric Association's (IPA) Committee on Children's Environmental Health will take place in Mar de Plata, Argentina, on 2 and 3 October 2003. This event is being hosted by the International Network on Children’s Health, Environment and Safety (INCHES), the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE), and WHO. Representatives of pediatric societies from different regions of the world will meet to discuss and plan the future of children's environmental health (CEH) work, draft proposals for joint action on CEH, and discuss the inclusion of CEH in the framework of the 2004 World Congress of Pediatrics, to be held in Cancun, Mexico (August 2004). More information: http://www.aamma.org.

Child and Adolescent Health and Development Technical Briefing

WHO Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (CAH) will conduct a technical briefing at WHO headquarters in Geneva 27-31 October 2003. The briefing is intended to give participants an overview of CAH activities, to introduce participants to WHO staff, and to identify areas of mutual interest for possible collaboration. The briefing presents the Department's primary strategies for decreasing mortality and contributing to the healthy growth and development of children and adolescents from 0 to 19 years of age. The following healthy environments for children issues will be covered in the context of the briefing: research on the impact on child health of reducing indoor air pollution (the potential for reducing mortality and morbidity from acute respiratory infections among children under 5 years of age); promotion of key family practices for improving child health (including feeding- and hygiene-related practices); developing and maintaining safe and supportive environments for adolescents (including the social environment); and possibly a discussion of the WHO-wide strategy for child and adolescent health and development (where HEC figures as one of seven areas). More information: http://www.who.int/child-adolescent-health/NEWS/news_24.htm.

New Educational Package to Protect Children from UV Radiation

The cause of many skin cancers is ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun. Children, who are both most vulnerable and most exposed, are disproportionately affected. In response to the problem, WHO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other partners in the Intersun Project have recently launched a set of new educational materials. The new package will help children, their families and educators protect children from the risks of developing malignant and non-malignant skin cancers, cataracts and other UV-caused conditions. The materials support recommendations made in “Sun Protection, An Essential Element of Health-Promoting Schools”, a part of the WHO Information Series on School Health. More information: http://www.who.int/peh-uv/sunprotection.htm#Education.

3rd International Conference on Children's Health and Environment

The first announcement and call for abstracts for the 3rd International Conference on Children's Health and Environment are now available online (in PDF) at http://www.pinche.hvdgm.nl/resource/pdf/london_announcement.pdf. The conference will take place on March 31 - April 2, 2004 in London, UK, and has been initiated by the International Network on Children’s Health, Environment and Safety (INCHES), in collaboration with the Policy Interpretation Network on Children’s Health and Environment (PINCHE) and the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE). It is meant to be a world-wide platform dealing with health problems of children caused by important environmental influences. The Healthy Environments for Children Alliance will be organizing a session at the conference (more details to come).

Children's Health and the Environment: A Review of Evidence

"Children's Health and the Environment: A Review of Evidence" provides an overview of the available evidence on the relationship between the physical environment and children’s health, identifying both research needs and policy priorities to protect children’s health from environmental hazards. The report was produced in 2002 by the European Environment Agency in collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe. In order to further disseminate the report's contents and in preparation for the 4th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health (Budapest, June 2004), a presentation of the Italian translation of the report took place at the Ordine dei Medici in Rome, Italy, on 19 September 2003. This was followed by a press conference on the subject. The translation of the report and the presentation were coordinated by the Italian branch of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE-Italy), with the support of the Regional Agency of Tuscany for Environmental Protection (ARPAT). To download the report in English, please see: http://www.euro.who.int/childhealthenv/Publications/20020725_4.

Child Friendly Cities Database

Healthy environments for children and child friendly cities are closely linked through the emphasis on ensuring the children have the best conditions possible to live, learn, play, and grow. The Child Friendly Cities Secretariat, housed at the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, strives to distil innovations aimed to fulfil the human rights and meet the basic needs of children and women living in cities, especially in low-income communities, and those suffering from various forms of discrimination. In light of the growing number of cities engaged in developing programmes and initiatives for children in low-, middle- and high-income countries, the Secretariat has developed a database on Child Friendly Cities around the world. The CFC Database can be accessed through the CFC website at http://www.childfriendlycities.org/resources/database.html, and is the result of data collection and analysis among CFC experiences worldwide. The CFC Database is comprised of two main types of documents: 1) project documents on case studies, good practices, legislation, programmes, research, and surveys; and 2) publication abstracts including bibliographic references of documents--such as books, journal articles, and conference proceedings--that support the development of the concept of Child Friendly Cities.

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