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Tuesday, 14 August 2012 15:21

Our Plant, Our Health, Our Future. Find the Rio Convention Discussion Paper here

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Written by Kirsten Brownstein   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 22:32

Protecting Health From Climate Change: Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment

This document is the result of a joint effort between WHO, PAHO, ministry of health representatives and subject matter experts to improve the guidance for the conduct of vulnerability assessments.  It is intended not as a final, definitive guide but as an important part of an evolving set of resources that will support effective and evidence-based action to protect health from climate change.


 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 22:50
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Monday, 25 June 2012 13:12

See all the photos from Rio+20 here!

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Monday, 25 June 2012 13:01

Dr Chan visits clinic responsible for reducing TB prevalence in Brazil’s largest slum

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Mararet Chan, visited the primary clinic responsible for reducing TB prevalence in Rocinha, Brazil’s largest slum.

The clinic adopts the "Directly Observed Treatment" (DOTS) approach to control tuberculosis, which results in fewer people abandoning treatment, fewer cases of drug resistance and higher cure rate. In the case of the Rocinha slum, the cure rate rose from 68% to 84% with the combination of DOTS and the family health program run by 11 teams, each one in charge of a subdivision of the slum.  

The modern and confortable facility includes a primary health care unit, a psicosocial sevices unit, and small emergency unit. Prior its inauguration in 2009, there was no public health care in the community, except for a small TB clinic run by Catholic Church. Rocinha has 70,000 inhabitants.

“I am very impressed by the way the public health authorities are able to address the major determinants of health in this clinic, including poverty and lack of education”, said Dr Chan. “Brazil is showing important leadership in making the right connections between ill-health and its determinants.”

Dr Chan was accompanied by the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, Babatunde Osotimehin, the Brazilian Minister of Health, Dr Alexandre Padilha,  and other health authorities.

See photos from the visit and others from Rio+20 here!

 

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Monday, 25 June 2012 12:55

altStatement WHO/5
22 June 2012

 

Rio + 20 Declares Health Key to Sustainable Development

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) has adopted a series of measures that have the potential to contribute to a more equitable, cleaner, greener, and more prosperous world – and recognizes the important linkages between health and development. 

"The Future We Want" conference outcome document, agreed upon by member states attending the 20-22 June conference, highlights the fact that better health is a “precondition for, an outcome of, and an indicator of sustainable development”.

“This focus on the links between health and sustainable development is critical,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization WHO. “Healthy people are better able to learn, be productive and contribute to their communities. At the same time, a healthy environment is a prerequisite for good health.” 

The outcome document also emphasizes the importance of universal health coverage to enhancing health, social cohesion and sustainable human and economic development. And it acknowledges that the global burden and threat of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) constitutes one of the major sustainable development challenges of the 21st century. 

The document states: “We are convinced that action on the social and environmental determinants of health, both for the poor and the vulnerable and the entire population, is important to create inclusive, equitable, economically productive and healthy societies. We call for the full realization of the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”.

Health-related development issues covered in detail in the outcome document include:   

- Access to better energy services including sustainable cooking and heating solutions, which can significantly reduce childhood pneumonia and adult cardiopulmonary disease deaths from indoor air pollution; 

- Greater focus on urban planning measures including more sustainable, energy-efficient housing and transport – which can significantly reduce many  NCD risks, e.g. cardiopulmonary diseases from air pollution, health risks from physical inactivity and traffic injury;  

- Better sanitation in cities and villages to protect against the spread of communicable diseases; 

- Sustainable food systems that combat hunger and contribute to better health and nutrition;

- More sustainable water usage, meeting basic needs for safe drinking-water and stewardship of water supplies to grow food;

- Assurance that all jobs and workplaces meet minimum safety and health standards to reduce cancer, chronic lung diseases, injuries and early deaths.

Rio+20 also underlined the vital need for universal health coverage (including policies to prevent, protect and promote public health). Currently, 150 million people worldwide suffer severe financial hardship each year because they fall ill and cannot afford to pay for the services or medicines they need to recover. Universal health coverage can therefore fight poverty and build more resilient and prosperous communities.

An outcome of the 1992 Rio Conference (The 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development) was Agenda 21, a comprehensive plan for global and local action. 

Chapter Six of this document focused on ‘Protecting and Promoting Human Health’. Over the past 20 years, WHO has worked in the five areas outlined in that chapter: meeting primary health care needs particularly in rural areas; control of communicable diseases; protecting vulnerable groups; meeting the urban health challenge; and reducing environmental health risks, which are often exacerbated by unsustainable development. The Organization will continue this work and scale up efforts to help countries aiming to achieve universal health coverage and prevent and treat noncommunicable diseases. 

Read "The Future We Want" conference outcome document: http://www.uncsd2012.org/thefuturewewant.html

For more information, please contact:

Gregory Härtl
Telephone: +41 22 791 4458
Mobile: +41 79 203 6715
E-mail:  hartlg@who.int  

Fadéla Chaib
Telephone: + 41 22 791 32 28 
Mobile: + 41 79 475 55 56 
E-mail: chaibf@who.int

All WHO information can be found at : www.who.int

 

Last Updated on Monday, 25 June 2012 12:59
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