Environmental Health and Public Health
According to “Katz, D. L., Doughty, K. N., Geagan, K., Jenkins, D. A., & Gardner, C. D.” (2019), A branch of public health that deals with how people relate with the environment promotes well being, human health and fosters safe and healthy communities I referred to as environmental health. For any public health system, environmental health is very crucial. The aspects of human life are determined by environmental factors such as chemical, biological, social, psychological, and physical factors. All measures that are organized to promote health, prevent disease, and prolong life constitute public health. Therefore, public health is the art and science that prevent diseases and promotes health through organized efforts of the society. It is worth noting that there is an excellent relationship between environmental health and public health. If the environment is conducive and clean, then no health issues would be a concern, and therefore public health will be relieved from the strain of dealing with diseases. While the impact of the environment on the development of diseases and death cannot be clearly defined, it is estimated that 16% of deaths per year are attributed to preventable environmental causes. A report from World Health Organization indicates that 24 % of diseases globally and 23% of deaths are due to environmental elements. So, the effect of the environment on public health has become a global concern, especially concerning water and air pollution.
For this reason, environmental health is critically working on how to deal with the environment to ensure that people live in conducive places free of disease-causing pathogens. If the environment is kept safe and free of pollutants, people will not contact disease-causing pathogens. In turn, public health will be relieved from treating people and investing in drugs and treatment. There, environmental health has shifted its effort from public health, and now they are concentrating on ensuring that the environment in which people live is clean and safe. To achieve this, strategies for providing a clean environment have been adapted. Currently, the environment health sector is putting all its effort into ensuring that the environment is clean (Robinson, J. M., & Breed, M. F. (2019).
To achieve the goal of a clean environment, the environmental health sector is working on reducing air pollution and water pollution because these are the central environmental element that nature and harbor pathogens. From the report provided by the WHO, it is estimated that nearly one million people per year die due to the effects of air pollution. Most individual deaths are associated with respiratory diseases. This has made environmental health concentrate more on eradicating air pollution rather than leaving the problem unresolved and treating the diseases. Also, reports from UNICEF indicate that nearly one billion people have no access to clean water globally. Water that is contaminated is a threat to plants and marine life that humans consume. The microorganisms that cause many diseases thrive well in contaminated water. Diseases such as Cholera and typhoid fever are caused by contaminated water (Rosenthal, J., Quinn, A., Grieshop, A. P., Pillarisetti, A., & Glass, R. I. (2018). Instead of treating these diseases, environmental health has shifted to educating people on the importance of using safe water. The use of safe and clean water reduces the prevalence of diseases easing the burden of public health.
For example, Cholera has been on the headlines as a threat to the health sector. Public health has responded to the issue with a different approach. They have decided to educate people on using clean and treated water to prevent the entry of cholera pathogens. The public health department started an initiative of visiting communities and showing them how to handle water and boil it before they can use it for cooking and drinking (Bompangue, D., Moore, S., Taty, N., Impouma, B., Sudre, B., Manda, R., … & Vandevelde, T. (2020). The program was very successful and when the community adapted to the program, cholera disease prevalence reduced. Mortality deaths from the disease have reduced significantly. Therefore, public health changed the approach of the problem from treating to prevention. The recommendations that should be made are to prevent diseases through a clean environment to ease the burden of health care and environmental policy.
Bompangue, D., Moore, S., Taty, N., Impouma, B., Sudre, B., Manda, R., … & Vandevelde, T. (2020). Description of the targeted water supply and hygiene response strategy implemented during the cholera outbreak of 2017–2018 in Kinshasa, DRC. BMC infectious diseases, 20(1), 1-12. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12879-020-4916-0
Katz, D. L., Doughty, K. N., Geagan, K., Jenkins, D. A., & Gardner, C. D. (2019). Perspective: The public health case for modernizing the definition of protein quality. Advances in Nutrition, 10(5), 755-764. https://academic.oup.com/advances/article-abstract/10/5/755/5484791
Robinson, J. M., & Breed, M. F. (2019). Green prescriptions and their co-benefits: Integrative strategies for public and environmental health. Challenges, 10(1), 9. https://www.mdpi.com/396956
Rosenthal, J., Quinn, A., Grieshop, A. P., Pillarisetti, A., & Glass, R. I. (2018). Clean cooking and the SDGs: Integrated analytical approaches to guide energy interventions for health and environment goals. Energy for Sustainable Development, 42, 152-159. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0973082617309857