Every year we celebrate World Health Day with a special slogan to raise awareness of a particular subject. This year we are celebrating World Health Day on April 7, 2022, with the Slogan of” Our Planet, Our Health”. However, in Nepal, World Health Day is going to be celebrated with the Slogan of “Clean Environment and Healthy Nepali”. This slogan might be suitable in the contextual context. A recent scientific article published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health raises significant issues about Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene which are related to human health for healthy Nepali https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/6/3507
The planet is surrounded by all living things and each living thing has its own right to live, survive and stay healthy. Human beings are working around the world and doing their own business. They need clean water, fresh air, and healthy food for survival. These are their primary need for them. The surrounding environment becomes contaminated mostly by human activities, which cause chronic and fatal diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems, and many more.
The World Health Organization estimated that approximately 13 million people died due to environmental and related causes. In Nepal, approximately 647 people died annually due to climate change-related causes, and more than NRS 2700 million economic burden has been occurred due to this cause. Internal and external environmental pollution are major discussion issues that are interrelated with drinking water, air, and food.
The poor environmental pollution affects drinking water through human activities. Air pollution also becoming via modern industries and technology-related services. Due to environmental pollution, human foods and food-related products become contaminated. These means are really interconnected and are most important in our daily lives. Climate change become a discussion issue where the earth’s temperature is rising, melting ice, and increasing sea level globally.
Due to the poor economic status of people, the above facilities on our planet remain problematic and may cause some serious health problems. If people’s health status is poor, then they cannot work effectively, and this impacted their earning capacity.
Eventually, there might be a problem with livable cities if there is huge environmental pollution on our planet. To keep clean water, air, and food products, it is important to improve the economy and thereby the living cities and places become standard and scientifically proven healthy cities. These are based on the current health promotion action areas (e.g. build healthy public policy, create supportive environments for health, strengthen community action for health, develop personal skills, and re-orient health services) were formulated by the World Health Organization from the Ottawa Charter international conference on Health Promotion in 1986.
The following strategies are suggested to mitigate such problems which are related to the pollution of our planet and environment and their consequences on human health from the perspectives of the socioecological model at multi-level as–
- Individual responsibilities: Our planet is a gift of God where we live and survive. Everything is available on earth and all living things are existing for survival. To keep our planet clean and safe, all individuals do follow positive health behavior. Each individual must understand what is wrong and what is right to do for the planet.Positive health behavior must adapt and must understand and apply to safeguarding the way of waste products. All individuals must have health literacy as a result form of health promotion. Each individual must be able to do something new to change society and avoid negative behavior. Particularly, any waste produced whether household level or from any other organization s/he must discard through recycling, reduction, and composting methods.
- Community ownership: Community as a group of people who live together with their diversity but for a common goal. The community or society must take ownership of the common welfare of the community people. One must help others; no one should abandon waste on the planet that may cause harm to others.The key common responsibilities must have applied by community people such as less driving cars, reducing the usage of wooden stoves, reducing the usage of electronic devices………., maintaining a healthy eco-system, recycling community waste products, and growing food locally.
- Government commitment: There is a gap between the supply and demand side, especially in developing countries including Nepal. People are expected to achieve any available services strategies such as timely information about the planet, environment, and a short term as well as long term health effects. They also need to be aware of the economic burden due to poor health effects from climate change-related environmental issues.They have a right to utilize available resources to mitigate environmental health hazards too. Finally, the government policy should be formulated and timely at federal, provincial, and local levels in Nepal. Nepal is a geographically diversifying country with multi-cultural and linguistic characteristics. They have their own need and demand but the government may lack reach them equally.There might be a problem of policy gap and contextual study. Therefore, the federal, provincial, and local governments must formulate context-specific climatic and environmental hazards related policies, and based on this policy different ministries, divisions, and centers need to formulate working guidelines such as strategies, directives, and regularities for the effective implementation of environmental, climate change and its related consequences of Nepal.
In conclusion, the environmental issue has been listed in the priory and this is a part of the health promotion agenda. As we know, health promotion helped to make all people capable through their own efforts and community and government support. Therefore, the celebration of national and international campaigns such as World Health Day 2022, significantly prioritized climatic and environmental issues relating to health and thereby achieved a healthy society through multi-level action.
Author @ Dr Shalik Ram Dhital, MPH, PhD
National Health Education, Information and Communication Center, Nepal