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

Water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities: status in middle- and low-income countries way forward

Drawing on data from 54 low- and middle-income countries, the WHO/UNICEF report concludes that 38% lack access to even rudimentary levels of water, 19% lack sanitation and 35% do not have water and soap for handwashing. In addition to documenting gaps, the report issues a call to action to strengthen policies and standards, human and financial resources, improvements at the facility level and global and national monitoring.

Health in all policies training manual

This manual provides a resource for training and to increase understanding of the importance of Health in All Policies by health and other professionals. The material will form the basis of two- or three-day workshops, which will:

  • build capacity to promote, implement and evaluate HiAP;
  • encourage engagement and collaboration across sectors;
  • facilitate the exchange of experiences and lessons learned;
  • promote regional and global collaboration on HiAP; and
  • promote dissemination of skills to develop training courses for trainers.

Guidelines for indoor air quality: household fuel combustion

12 November 2014 -- WHO recommendations, released today, highlight the dangers of burning fuels like unprocessed coal and kerosene in the home, and set targets for reducing emissions of health-damaging pollutants from domestic cookstoves, space heaters and fuel-based lamps. These new guidelines come after WHO findings earlier this year revealed that more than 7 million people – one in eight of total global deaths – are due to indoor or outdoor air pollution exposure. According to the estimates, some 4.3 million people worldwide die every year from household air pollution emitted by rudimentary biomass and coal cookstoves.

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.

In focus