Public Health Awareness

Environment influences our health through exposures to physical, chemical and biological risk factors, and through related changes in our behaviour in response to those factors. World Health Organization (WHO) based on a  study conducted 14 regions worldwide, and separately for children, reports that environmental hazards are responsible for as much as a quarter of the total burden of disease world-wide, and more than one-third of the burden among children. Major diseases caused by environmental hazards include, diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, various forms of unintentional injuries and malaria.

The disease burden is much higher in the developing world, although in the case of certain non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers, the per capita disease burden is larger in developed countries. Health impacts of environmental hazards run across more than 80 diseases and types of injury. WHO estimates that Worldwide, as many as 13 million deaths could be prevented every year by making our environments healthier.

An effective and sustainable management of environment is key to preventing diseases Safe environment and public health protection are fundamental rights of citizen. Citizen pay to the Government for safe water, clean air and sanitation. However, in many South Asian countries, thousands of villages are yet to be connected with piped water supply, while, in cities, despite paying for piped water, people are forced to buy potable water at a heavy price. Worse, in some cities of India, government on one hand collects water tax from citizen, fails to supply potable water and instead it runs tankers to supply water at an additional cost and citizen pays on both fronts without raising  a question.

Key Lesson: Examples from across the world do tell us that, public health services are not guaranteed by merely by  paying for them. Unless the citizens demand for these services and put a premium on failure of governance, things will not improve.

Disclaimer: This article is a reflection of author’s personal thoughts, and all rights reserved by SAFE CITIZEN.ORG

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