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LETTER TO EDITOR Table of Contents  
Ahead of print publication
Safeguarding the health of the general population through promotion of safe environment: World Health Organization

1 Vice Principal Curriculum, Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

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How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Safeguarding the health of the general population through promotion of safe environment: World Health Organization. Hamdan Med J [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2019 Sep 17]. Available from: http://www.hamdanjournal.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=253928

Dear Editor,

The presence of a healthy environment can save millions of lives worldwide, with under-five children and people within the age group of 50–75 years being worst affected.[1],[2] The available global estimates suggest that close to one-fourth of all the global deaths can be attributed to the environment, with maximum deaths been reported in the Southeast Asian region.[2] Further, 65% of the above-reported deaths are due to non-communicable diseases, especially because of stroke and ischaemic heart diseases.[2] In addition, low- and middle-income nations bear the maximum share of the environment-attributed diseases, which is an unacceptable loss of human lives and their working potential.[1],[2]

The general population gets exposed to potential risk factors in home, workplace or communities via indoor and outdoor air pollution, inadequate water sanitation and hygiene practices, chemical and biological agents, noise pollution, radiation exposure, occupational hazards, pesticide pollution and climate deterioration.[1],[2],[3] It is vital to understand that we have to employ a different approach to counter this threat, as even though pollution control strategies can deliver short-term gains for sustained gains, we have to focus on the drivers and sources of pollution, which starts right from the government, private sector as well as individual level.[3],[4] In other words, we have to mount an approach in such a way that development process does not give rise to derangement of the environmental and social conditions that can affect living standards.[2],[4]

Considering the facts that in the current era we are well equipped with the knowledge and understanding about the ways in which environment affects human health, there is an immense need to scale up the political will if we have to combat the issue successfully.[2] As close to half of the world's population lives in cities and have been exposed to a range of environmental threats, there is a great need to ensure that urban expansion happens in a planned manner.[1] This essentially calls for simultaneous involvement of various other sectors such as energy, urban planning, transport and infrastructure.[3],[4]

The World Health Organization has prioritised the issue of climate and environmental changes, and an additional impetus is given towards advocacy, the provision of technical support to vulnerable nations and building of newer partnerships involving various sectors.[2] In fact, most of the environmental burden of death and disease can be minimised with the help of cost-effective strategies; nevertheless, to enhance their effectiveness, it has to be formulated and implemented holistically.[4] Moreover, measures such as application of low-carbon strategies in the energy generation, housing and industry; minimising occupational exposure and making improvement in the working atmosphere; bringing modifications in the consumption pattern to reduce the use of harmful chemicals; encouraging public transport and increasing access to safe water and adequate sanitation facilities can assist in the creation of a healthier environment and prevention of disease.[1],[2],[3],[4]

To conclude, the need of the hour is to bring about a change in the perception of stakeholders and view environment as an integral component of the health protection, and that preservation of the same will aid in the improvement of the health standards of the general population.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Preventing diseases through promotion of a healthier environment: World Health Organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:364-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
Neira M, Pfeiffer M, Campbell-Lendrum D, Prüss-Ustün A. Towards a Healthier and Safer Environment; 2017. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/commentaries/healthier-safer-environment/en/. [Last accessed on 2018 Dec 10].  Back to cited text no. 2
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Responding to the risk posed to health and environment by short-lived climate pollutants. Int J Adv Med Health Res 2016;3:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 3
Prüss-Ustün A, Wolf J, Corvalán C, Bos R, Neira M. Preventing Disease through Healthy Environments: A Global Assessment of the Burden of Disease from Environmental Risks. Geneva: WHO Press; 2016. p. 1-26.  Back to cited text no. 4

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava,
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/HMJ.HMJ_95_18


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