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

Health and Climate Change: Road to COP21

6 October 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.

Water sanitation and hygiene for accelerating and sustaining progress on neglected tropical diseases: a global strategy 2015-2020

A health worker baths the limb of a woman infected with Lymphatic Filariasis in Orissa, India.
Sean Hawkey

27 August 2015 - WHO unveiled a global plan to better integrate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services with four other public health interventions to accelerate progress in eliminating and eradicating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020. Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect over 1 billion people, causing chronic disability and death, primarily among the poorest of the world – the same people who often lack access to even the most basic water and sanitation services.

Achieving a cleaner, more sustainable and healthier future

The 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change has been formed to map out the impacts of climate change, and the necessary policy responses, in order to ensure the highest attainable standards of health for populations worldwide. This Commission is multidisciplinary and international in nature, with strong collaboration between academic centres in Europe and China.

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