February 1-2, 2007
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
February 2, 2007. - Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) deliver a magisterial presentation in the plenary session today at the 7th National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment, with focus on Integrating Environment and Human Health.
Dr. Roses presentation: Improving People’s Health through
Healthy Environments address the relationship between environment and health, and the interactions of environment, society and individual on health, noting that "... health is a complex process resulting from many interactions of structural and intermediate determinants; some environmentally-related health effects occur even before the individual conception and birth; the points of entry/intervention are multiple and depend on the specific setting... "
In her speach she note that " - those living in high-mortality developing countries are more exposed in the local environment due to deficiencies in water quality, adequate sanitation and indoor air pollution, while the developing countries confront more often global hazards such as climate change, UV radiation and ecosystem change that come with economic development. There is a transitional situation for developing countries that are better off, where haphazard development with limited regulation/restrictions on the environment expose people more frequently to chemicals, outdoor air pollution and workplace hazards."
Through her presentation, Dr. Roses, emphasized that environmental disease burden affects all people, rich or poor in developed and developing countries, but there are important inequalities affecting disproportionally the poorer in different regions of the World and within countries.
To conclude her speach, Dr. Roses talked about the need for intersectoral action to maximize efficiency. The health sector cannot implement development policies on its own - she said -, but can provide the evidence, methods and tools for assessing the health impacts of developing and designing healthier policies and strategies; we have the mission to reduce the environmental hazards the people face in order to improve their health.
The National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment bring together over 850 scientists, policymakers, businesspeople, and civil society. Over 120 experts are speaking in plenary sessions, symposia, and topical breakout sessions. The conference is interactive and address the many essential roles the environment plays on our well-being today, as well as the multi-dimensional relationships between human health and environmental components, which may have far-reaching consequences for society. The Conference join leading scientists, policy makers, educators, and others to develop science-based solutions to protect people and the planet.
Our ability to recognize or realize how the condition—or health—of our environments can and does affect the health of humans is compromised in subtle ways. There are misconceptions, unexpected linkages, and interests with competing priorities that continue to prevent us from developing solutions to maintaining both environmental health and the health of humans. These constraints are clearly documented in the recent World Health Organization report “Preventing disease through healthy environments: Towards an estimate of the environmental burden of disease.” Significantly, the report finds that many of the environmental factors now posing risk of human disease and death can be modified in simple, proven, cost-effective ways.
PAHO Today. Ministers Link Health and Environment
Health and the Environment and Sustainable Development