Sustainable Development: Economic progress requires a healthy populace. Unfortunately, the poorest people on the earth are disproportionately affected by environmental risks such as air pollution and contaminated water. As a result, sickness and incapacity caused by contaminated environments stifle and obstruct economic growth. Aside from the human toll, the disease also imposes a considerable financial burden in the form of healthcare costs and missed production. For example, unhealthy children and adults cannot attend school or perform well, and unhealthy adults are unable to work or care for their families.
How does economic development affect environmental health?
Economic progress has improved people’s lives dramatically, but frequently at the expense of the environment. Pollution of the air and water, changes in eating patterns, and changes in transportation and land-use patterns have all been attributed to industrialization. Pollution in the air and water increases disease directly. Similarly, nutritional changes and reduced physical activity resulting from transportation and other work and lifestyle changes contribute to global obesity, diabetes, and related disease epidemics. These environmental health issues have become global health issues as a result of globalization and the vast geographic scale on which rapid industrialization is taking place.
What is sustainable development?
Sustainable development is often characterized as development that meets current generations’ demands without jeopardizing future generations’ ability to meet their own. Communities and governments are putting more focus on ensuring that economic development is achieved ALONG WITH Sustainable Development as evidence of the harm to health and well-being caused by widespread environmental degradation and global climate change emerges.
How can environmental health be integrated into sustainable development?
Sustainable development necessitates the preservation and creation of healthy habitats. Environmental health can be incorporated into long-term growth by doing the following:
Improving environmental quality for the poorest communities with the highest burdens of environmental diseases by lowering exposure to air pollution from biomass burning in houses and villages and providing safe drinking water and sanitation.
Identifying actions to address environmental issues and Sustainable Development that can also have a positive impact on one’s health. Creating surroundings that favour biking and walking for transportation, for example, reduce greenhouse gas and hazardous air pollution emissions while also increasing physical activity (environmental benefit) (health benefit).
Recognizing that some policies, practises, and technologies aimed at promoting Sustainable Development and economic development may have unanticipated negative health consequences on the environment, and aiming to prevent or minimize these effects before they are implemented.
Disease Burden in Developing Countries and Environmental Factors
The environment is linked to many of the diseases that are most strongly connected with poverty, hence the importance of Sustainable Development is inevitable.
According to the World Health Organization, environmental factors are responsible for around 25% of the illness burden in developing countries.
In 2004, 1.9 million people, primarily children, perished due to a lack of clean water and sanitation.
Every year, 2 million people, primarily women and children, die from indoor air pollution caused by cooking with solid fuels like wood, dung, and charcoal.
In low- and middle-income nations, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory illnesses are becoming more prevalent. Environmental dangers such as air pollution, toxic chemicals, and constructed environments that inhibit physical exercise can cause or worsen several NCDs.
NCDs can stifle economic development by forcing people to fall into poverty due to lost productivity and the high expenses of long-term treatment. NCDs carry a significant human and financial toll in low- and middle-income countries. People commonly pay out-of-pocket for treatment, and healthcare systems have limited resources and abilities.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES FOR THE TRANSFORMATION NEEDED
Governments, society, and individuals will all need to continue to rethink how we live, work, produce, consume, and govern to meet the concerns of health, the environment, and climate change. This transformation requires a public health framework enabled and supported by adequate governance mechanisms and high-level political will, tailored to national circumstances, that focuses on upstream determinants of health, the environment, and determinants of climate change in an integrated and mainstreamed approach across all sectors. To accomplish this transformation, the health sector must take on a new role that caters both sustainable development and equitable and a socially just transition.
WHO’S ROLE AND LEADERSHIP IN GLOBAL HEALTH
Under the proposed global strategy on health, environment and climate change, the Secretariat’s actions are guided by the WHO’s Thirteenth General Programme of Work (2019–2023) ‘s three strategic priorities. The strategic objective “Promoting healthier populations” encompasses essential health, environmental, and climate change efforts, but the contribution to “Addressing health emergencies” has also been significant. In addition, the WHO’s strategic aim of “achieving universal health coverage” should guide the implementation of essential environmental health services like safe drinking water and clean fuels.
The WHO’s global health mandate is derived from its Constitution, and it is further stated in its Thirteenth General Programme of Work, 2019–2023: Global Health. “Wide-ranging and long-term activities are required to build a community dedicated to working for humanity’s common future, empowering all people to enhance their health, address health determinants, and respond to health challenges.”
To achieve that goal, the strategic objectives include measures taken by or with significant input from the health sector in the areas of primary prevention, cross-sectoral action on health determinants, health-related leadership, and health-related monitoring.
The Secretariat focuses on providing support to the health sector and multisectoral action on health determinants to achieve these goals. This strategy’s activities are fully enshrined in WHO’s core functions. As a result of its mission, capacity, and convening authority, WHO has the strengths and relative advantages to lead on the issues addressed in this plan. The WHO’s operations under this strategy are divided into leadership and policy assistance, evidence synthesis and advocacy, and direct country help.
Although WHO‘s primary functions remain the bedrock of its work significant changes are required to meet changing needs to ensure Sustainable Development. Nevertheless, close collaboration with appropriate United Nations organizations will be assured. Cooperation is already active on many activities through various platforms.