RCEunnipm's picture

JOIN NOW! 8th Global RCE Conference Health and Sanitation Discussion Group

Welcome to the 2013 Global RCE Conference Health and Sanitation Discussion Group! Please join in the pre-conference discussions today by sharing your thoughts on the topics you feel most need to be addressed in the group meeting during the Global Conference in Nairobi.


RCEunnipm's picture

Health is both a resource for, as well as an outcome of, sustainable development. The goals of sustainable development cannot be achieved when there is a high prevalence of debilitating illness and poverty, and the
health of a population cannot be maintained without a responsive health system and a healthy environment. Environmental degradation, mismanagement of natural resources, and unhealthy consumption patterns and lifestyles impact health. Ill-health, in turn, hampers poverty alleviation and economic development." (WHO)

Today health sector faces a paradox with the coexistence of immense advances in wellbeing in certain regions, extreme deprivation in others and increasing socio economic disparities in general. According to the World
Health Organization (WHO) one third of the global population has no regular access to essential modern medicine; and in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin
America, as high as half of the population faces shortage of minimum healthcare.

Existing burden of communicable diseases coupled with rapidly emerging chronic and lifestyle diseases persistently affect lives in these regions. Indomitable challenges such as hunger and malnutrition; high maternal and child mortality, unplanned pregnancies and birth related complications; rapid demographic changes and urbanization; increasing privatization of healthcare and related costs; emerging and reemerging infectious diseases such as malaria, waterborne diseases, HIV and AIDS; vertical and centralized health programs without adequate attention to the local context; under utilization of public health facilities; migration of medical professionals; environmental changes and related impacts; drug and alcohol abuse; violence and traffic accidents continue to be major health sector concerns in such economies.

Developed countries are also confronted by a changing demography, chronic and lifestyle-related diseases, low fertility, increasing fiscal burden through welfare programs, increasing demand for healthcare, dependence on
high technology-centered healthcare and related escalating costs. Health planners are confronted with the dual challenges of integrating health promotion and disease prevention on the one hand, and treatment of acute illnesses and chronic care on the other. This has prompted a rethink in strategies from institutionally delivered health care to health access for improved health and wellbeing among communities. There is also a reemerging focus and increasing stress on primary health care.

Education has a pivotal role in improving health and wellbeing of the communities. Awareness and education are powerful ways to drive behavioural change related to health.

In this broad context, the session will appraise utilizing of ESD principles to improve health education and various initiatives within the RCE thematic network on health and sustainability. The session will particularly discuss unique strengths of the RCE community in health education; preparing a capacity development plan of RCEs at different levels including creating an enabling environment at institutional and organizational levels; as well as facilitating collaboration with regional and international organizations dealing with health education and capacity development of various stakeholders.
clemens.mader's picture

Dear Unni, Dear RCE-health group,
As a background paper and further source for discussion I have attached a discussion paper developed by the "Sustainable Development Solutions Network" - Thematic Group on Health. They have developed a draft technical report for the post-2015 development agenda for public discussion. This aims to outline the importance and understanding of health issues in the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals.

In their report they also draw attention to the field of education and link health issues especially with the MDG education goal. Still, reading their paragraph focusing on education we might recognize that authors of this report have probably never herad about ESD. This I think makes our RCE working group even more important and the discuourse and collaboration with regional and international organisations as suggested by Unni essential.

You can find the full report attached, this is the paragraph on education:

Health and its relationship with ensuring effective learning for all children and youth:
Education and health are profoundly linked; both are human rights, and are inputs into human capital. Better education contributes to better health, through increased employment generating income, increasing the ability of households to afford better nutrition and healthcare. There is abundant evidence from across the world that education positively impacts the health status of individuals within countries, even independent of income. Education, especially women’s education, is another key investment with a direct impact on family planning, child health and development, and Family nutrition. This is because education increases awareness of risk factors, health seeking and health utilization behaviors. In turn, better health has significant impact on education. As discussed, healthy, well--‐nourished children do better in school. Stunting from under--‐nutrition in early childhood has been shown to have an impact on IQ and cognitive development, affecting learning and long--‐term career prospects. The Relationships between education and health are vital and cannot be ignored. In the post--‐2015 agenda, it is crucial that synergies between education and health be realized, such as described in the SDSN report “An Action Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Universal education must be advanced vigorously, health literacy, in fact, could be fast--‐tracked through mass media and settings--‐based non--‐formal health education. A variety of communication channels and social networks can be used for this purpose. Increasing the health literacy of young persons is an especially high priority to empower the global citizens of the 21st century with the knowledge, motivation and skills needed to help them to protect personal health and act as societal change agents for promoting population health.
RCEunnipm's picture

Thank you Clemens for this interesting report ! Yes, it seems silent on ESD. It is also not so elaborate on social and environmental determinants of health. How do you think we can feed into this process ?
Simon Macharia's picture

Dear Unnipm,Mado Organization vision is to appeal for economic and social development assistant to effectively manage resources through sustainable environmental conservation and poverty reduction in creating an HIV/AIDS free society.Our goal is to improve health and sanitation within the informal settlement and empower women within decision mechanism at community level,provide safe drinking water and sanitation facilities by gender mainstreaming and empowering local authorities to improve public health and sanitation.
New ideas and new thinking especially those of younger people and their teachers at universities around the world,are essential for better,smarter interconnected world.Youth who live in cities are full of ideas,creativity and energy yet they are not full partners in the institutions and decisions that affect their life...
A wide range of partners (with the private sector and within and between )should be promoted.We should develop financially sustainable and innovative public private partnerships for basic delivery of solid waste management services, within urban and Peri-urban areas in our cities.There should be strive to protect human and environmental health from unsound management of solid waste,by contributing for clean urban living environment through the provision of ward specific solid waste management.We must not forget climate change variability because it threatens basic elements of life such as access to water,food production,land use and health.We should promote a cadre of women and youth enterpreneuoes and improve knowledge,attitudes and practices of good sanitation and hygien.
RCEgreaterdhaka's picture

RCE Greater Dhaka especially IUBAT and Rotary Club Greater Dhaka have been conducting regular training and organizing health and hygiene campaign; doing active research on nutrition for both urban slum dwellers and poor and extending this very important program to the rural areas.

Many people especially the women are not aware of nutrition and balanced diet. So food security must include food and nutrient security for campaign globally.
clemens.mader's picture

At Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany, last week we had a so called "Fact Finding Workshop" together with app. 15 participants from Egypt on the topic of "Water and Health in Egypt" Main idea of the workshop was to outline challenges the country faces in the field of water, sanitation and health and to further elaborate common research initiatives that tackle the problem. A focus was given on diseases as also cancer that roots in using dirty water for irrigation and nutrition. It is common use to use treated and untreated wastewater for irrigation of agricultural lands in countries with water scarcity. As such, in our workshop cases were presented from Egypt and Jordan.
Research projects we will apply for in an Egyptian and German consortium will tackle medical research, to proof the sources of diseases, as well as stakeholder analysis to target decision makers from policy to farmer and consumer in regards to their impact opportunities.
Simon Macharia's picture

It is only fresh ideas that WILL and can inspire reforms.Thinking MUST deliberately be encouraged.