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PAHO Director says we must not ignore effects of pollution/climate change on health


by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – “We may have survived a pandemic, but we still see several million preventable deaths and many lost years of good health due to air pollution worldwide. So everything that we can do to reduce pollution is going to be important,” said Pan American Health Organization Director (PAHO) Dr Carissa Etienne to commemorate World Health day 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated health concerns worldwide for the last two years, with millions of lives lost to the virus.

This year, the focus is on another prevailing topic, climate change, pollution and the effects of both on the health of humans.

Dr Etienne believes there is an urgent need to protect the environment by establishing the link between the health of the planet and an individual’s personal health.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on society, we must also deal with the health effects of pollution, the threat from the climate crisis, the rising incidence of mosquito-borne diseases and the systems that produce unhealthy foods and drive a wave of obesity while generating greenhouse emissions,” the PAHO Director made those remarks during the April 6 COVID-19 briefing.

The theme for this year’s World Health Day is “Our Planet, Our Health” and serves as a timely reminder of the link between the state of the planet and our health; the burden of non-communicable and infectious diseases rising alongside the growing incidents of climate-related challenges.

“We ask people to take what action that they can to reduce their energy use, to use public transportation and to avoid highly processed foods and beverages.”

PAHO launched the Agenda for the Americas on Health, Environment, and Climate Change in 2021 to help countries deal with environmental and health challenges.

The agenda is in place from 2021 to 2030 and will benefit all countries and territories by strengthening leadership and coordination roles in the health sector and fostering cross-sectoral action between the health and environment sectors.

Here is St. Kitts and Nevis, Minister of Health, the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett, posted on her Facebook page encouraging all to take Primary/Preventative Health Care seriously and help create a Healthy Lifestyle Culture in the Federation.

The Health Promotions Unit also shared a post on Facebook focusing on eradicating practices that negatively affect the environment and people’s health; encouraged recycling, reducing single-use plastics, carpooling or cycling to reduce carbon emissions and converting to renewable energy.

See the post here: https://www.facebook.com/StKittsHPU/videos/353642936815272/.


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