Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Environment and health sectors must work together


A meeting of health and environment ministers and scientific experts on the impact of environment on health in Africa this week is a welcome — but long overdue — development, according to an editorial in The Lancet.

Resource-poor countries suffer disproportionately in terms of the environment's impact on health. In the worst affected African countries more than a third of the disease burden has environmental causes.

The co-host of the meeting, the WHO's regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO), has a real chance to set an agenda to guarantee gains for health, including a ministerial declaration and an action plan, says the editorial.

Political commitment for tried and tested interventions — such as access to safe drinking water — must be renewed. But the action plan should also include preparation strategies for new environmental challenges, such as the impact of climate change on health.

Achieving this will require better integration and coordination of the environment and health sectors across the continent.

Link to full article in The Lancet*

*Free registration is required to view this article

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.