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Unclean environment, others cause diseases, says WHO

Posted by By Chukwuma Muanya, Senior Health Reporter on 2006/06/19 | Views: 6187 |

Unclean environment, others cause diseases, says WHO

A RECENT report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown that specific diseases and injuries are caused by environmental factors, which include unclean surroundings among others.

A RECENT report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown that specific diseases and injuries are caused by environmental factors, which include unclean surroundings among others.

The report released at the weekend by the WHO indicates that as much as 24 per cent of global disease is caused by environmental exposures, which can be averted. The WHO, however, stressed that well-targeted interventions can prevent much of this environmental risk.

The report, titled: "Preventing disease through healthy environments - Towards An Estimate of the environmental burden of disease," further estimates that more than 33 per cent of disease in children under the age of five is caused by environmental exposures. It has also been shown that preventing environmental risk could save as many as four million lives a year in children alone, mostly in developing countries.

The report is the most comprehensive and systematic study yet undertaken on how preventable environmental hazards contribute to a wide range of diseases and injuries.

Indeed, by focusing on the environmental causes of disease and how they are influenced by environmental factors, the report breaks new grounds in understanding the interactions between environment and health. The study reflects how much death, illness and disability could be realistically avoided every year as a result of better environmental management.

Acting WHO Director-General, Dr. Anders Nordstrom, said in a press statement: "The report issued today is a major contribution to ongoing efforts to better define the links between environment and health".

He added: "We have always known that the environment influences health very profoundly, but these estimates are the best to date. This will help us to demonstrate that wise investment to create a supportive environment can be a successful strategy in improving health and achieving development that is sustainable."

The report indicates that more than 13 million deaths annually are due to preventable environmental causes. Nearly one third of death and disease in the least developed regions is due to environmental causes. Over 40 per cent of deaths from malaria and an estimated 94 per cent of deaths from diarrhoeal, two of the world's biggest childhood killers, could be prevented through better environmental management.

According to the report, the four main diseases influenced by poor environments are diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, various forms of unintentional injuries and malaria.

The WHO added that measures which could be taken now to reduce this environmental disease burden include the promotion of safe household water storage and better hygienic measures; the use of cleaner and safer fuels; increased safety of the built environment, more judicious use and management of toxic substances in the home and workplace and better water resource management.

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Comments (3)

Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown