Public health, environmental and social determinants of health (PHE)

Health and Climate Change: Road to COP21

17 November 2015 - Climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. Health professionals have a duty of care to current and future generations. They are also on the front line in protecting people from climate impacts, from more heatwaves and other extreme weather events, to outbreaks of infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue and cholera, to the effects of malnutrition. Health professionals around the world are also strong advocates for healthier environments, providing clean air, abundant and safe food and water.

Improving nutrition outcomes with better water, sanitation and hygiene

Mother and baby in African market

19 November 2015 - A new document, jointly prepared by WHO, UNICEF and USAID, summarizes the current evidence on the benefits of WASH for improving nutrition outcomes and describes how WASH interventions can be integrated into national nutrition policies and programmes to add value. It will also serve as a valuable tool to help countries implement the policy options on WASH that are recommended in the Framework for Action adopted by the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) held in Rome in November 2014.

New report identifies four ways to reduce health risks from climate pollutants

22 October 2015 - A new WHO report highlights the urgent need to reduce emissions of black carbon, ozone and methane - as well as carbon dioxide – which all contribute to climate change. Black carbon, ozone and methane – frequently described as short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) - not only produce a strong global warming effect, they contribute significantly to the more than 7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution.

Health through a better environment

Environmental hazards are responsible for as much as a quarter of the total burden of disease world-wide, and more than one-third of the burden among children. Heading that list are diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, various forms of unintentional injuries and malaria. The disease burden is much higher in the developing world, although in the case of certain non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers, the per capita disease burden is larger in developed countries. Health impacts of environmental hazards run across more than 80 diseases and types of injury.
Well-targeted interventions can prevent much of this environmental risk.
Worldwide, as many as 13 million deaths could be prevented every year by making our environments healthier.