Better Children for Tomorrow: Global Plan of Action for Children’s Health and the Environment

by Sofia Yohannes on February 21, 2014

 

My name is Sofia Yohannes and I’m a sophomore studying Health Science and Public Health. I have always been interested in working closely with children because they truly are our future. Their innocence and lack of knowledge leads me to search for the answers in all aspects of health so that they will be able to flourish and live the most fulfilling and long life possible. Taking a closer look at environmental effects on children’s health will help us make the necessary changes in order for children to live longer lives. This way we can ensure better health conditions for all people in the future.

My name is Sofia Yohannes and I’m a sophomore studying Health Science and Public Health. I have always been interested in working closely with children because they truly are our future. Their innocence and lack of knowledge leads me to search for the answers in all aspects of health so that they will be able to flourish and live the most fulfilling and long life possible. Taking a closer look at environmental effects on children’s health will help us make the necessary changes in order for children to live longer lives. This way we can ensure better health conditions for all people in the future.

 

While researching the most pressing topics surrounding the environments effects on the health of humans, I came across the World Health Organizations “Global Plan of Action for Children’s Health and the Environment.” Since children are our future, it is important that we focus on a healthy environment in order for them to live a clean, safe, healthy and long life. Environmental hazards can lead to various health risks for children.

The number of children that are affected by environmental related diseases is staggering; each year at least 3 million children who are under the age of 5 die due to environment related diseases. Acute respiratory infections are linked to environmental conditions and kill about 2 million children under the age of 5 annually. Contaminated water and inadequate sanitation are some environmental conditions, which contribute to diarrhoeal diseases. Diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 5 years old; it is also the leading cause of malnutrition in children under the age of 5. The high number of deaths for these children is alarming. Many of these life threatening diseases and deaths are due to traditional known environmental hazards that can be prevented.

The major environmental hazards that contribute to these diseases are unsafe water, indoor air pollution from use of a solid fuel, lack of sanitation, contaminated food, outdoor air pollution and also exposure to countless toxic heavy metals, hazardous waste and chemicals that may be brought home from the workplace. In addition to these traditional environmental hazards, new hazards such as increased use of radiation in pediatric healthcare settings have appeared also causing risks.

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Although these hazards can be found worldwide, they are especially worse in developing regions. In fact, children in developing nations have the highest death rates. Child health needs to be improved as a whole. Children need to be in clean environments consistently from the places where they learn, live and play. How can this be achieved? Preventative actions need to be taken in order to ensure that causes of diseases are handled and dealt with an their environmental source. It is also imperative that the populations be informed in order for these plans to be carried out effectively.

The Global Plan of Action for Children’s Health and Environment includes 5 target areas: Data Collective and Analysis, Collaborative Research, Advocacy, Clinical Service Delivery and Awareness Raising and Education. In order to carry out these targets, the World Health Organization will need to collaborate with large international organizations such as UNICEF and UNEP. This way the plan will be more beneficial from using limited resources. The issue of Children’s environmental health is interconnected with other issues such as climate change adaptation, primary healthcare, emergency response, disaster risk reduction and environmental protection. Collaborative efforts will contribute to the betterment of all these issues as well as children’s environmental health.

The necessary plan of action includes developing a global research agenda. This agenda will contain research questions and projects that will be led by experts in the field. An expected ideal outcome would be to have a network of specialized children’s environmental health centers and WHO centers having to do with children’s environmental health.

 

Sources

  1. Source #1: http://www.who.int/ceh/cehplanaction10_15.pdf?ua=1
  2. Source #2: http://dogmouth.net/photos/thailand/trek/mid/hmong-village-children-playing.html

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

dental health February 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm

This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something that helped me. Kudos!

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