Healthy Environments for Children Alliance listserv
The Healthy Environments for Children Alliance listserv (HECANET) is an international mailing list dedicated to promoting healthy environments for children. The list provides updates on the activities of the Healthy Environments for Children Alliance (HECA), advocacy tools and information resources, relevant meeting announcements, and reports on technical research and monitoring related to environmental risks to children's health.
- UNICEF Report: "Child Poverty in the Developing World"
- New Guidelines for Safe Recreational Water Environments
- Children's Health and the Environment Indicators in North America
- The Lancet Series: Child Survival
- CEH Declaration by Leaders of Southern Cone Paediatric Societies
- Follow-up: First International Training Workshop on Children's Environment Health
- Follow-up: Inaugural Meeting of the IPA Children's Environmental Health Committee
UNICEF Report: "Child Poverty in the Developing World"
Launched on 21 October, the UNICEF-commissioned report “Child Poverty in the Developing World” reveals that over one billion children suffer the severe effects of poverty. The report draws from the largest, most accurate survey sample of children ever assembled. Using a pioneering methodology, the survey measures the extent of child poverty, in terms not only of income, but of deprivation of basic human rights such as shelter, food, water, sanitation, health, education and information. The researchers analysed survey data on nearly 1.2 million children from 46 countries collected mainly during the late 1990’s. The research team included experts from the Centre for International Poverty Research at the University of Bristol and the London School of Economics. Download the report in PDF: http://www.unicef.org/media/files/Child_poverty.pdf.
New Guidelines for Safe Recreational Water Environments
Making the community environment healthy for children requires providing safe waters for recreation and bathing. On 16 October, WHO unveiled new "Guidelines for Safe Recreational Water Environments", which aim to empower users to obtain the health and other benefits (e.g., enjoyment, relaxation, and exercise) of recreational use of coastal and freshwater environments, while minimizing risks to users' health. The Guidelines cover drowning and injury; exposure to cold, heat and sunlight; water quality (exposure to water contaminated by sewage, but also exposure to freeliving pathogenic microorganisms in recreational water); contamination of beach sand; exposure to algae and their products; exposure to chemical and physical agents; and dangerous aquatic organisms. The Guidelines are intended to be the basis for the development of international and national approaches (including standards and regulations) for controlling the health risks from hazards that may be encountered in recreational water environments and for providing a framework for local decision-making. More information: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/bathing/srwe1/en/.
Children's Health and the Environment Indicators in North America
The Commission for Environment Cooperation (CEC) of North America is developing a North American set of indicators of children's health and the environment. A feasibility study was completed in late 2002, forming the basis for a recommendations document identiying a set of core indicators as well as the implementation strategy. In June 2003, during their annual meeting, the CEC Council (composed of the environment ministers or the equivalent) adopted a resolution accepting the recommendations and instructing the three CEC countries--Canada, Mexico, and the United States--to provide data on children's health and the environment indicators for this report. The implementation phase will include the compiling of these selected indicators by the governments and the preparation of the first North American indicators report, due to be released in 2004. The project partners are the CEC, the IJC Health Professionals Task Force, Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization. In addition to fulfilling an action called for in the CEC's Cooperative Agenda for Children's Health and the Environment in North America, this project represents an important contribution to commitments made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. More information: http://www.cec.org/.
The Lancet Series: Child Survival
This year, 10.8 million children younger than five years will die. Nearly all of these deaths will be concentrated in the world's poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Within each country, children from the poorest families are most likely to die. Effective low-cost interventions are available that can prevent two-thirds of these deaths. The challenge is how to deliver these interventions to children who need them most, children who are bypassed by existing health services' delivery strategies. A group of global child health experts met several times over the past few years, culminating in a workshop sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy, in February 2003. These scientists, speaking as individuals concerned with child health, produced a series of five articles published in The Lancet in June and July 2003. For more information, see WHO's Child and Adolescent Health and Development Web site: http://www.who.int/child-adolescent-health/publications/CHILD_HEALTH/Lancet_CS.htm.
CEH Declaration by Leaders of Southern Cone Paediatric Societies
On 30 September 2003, the presidents of the Southern Cone pediatric societies from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay met in Mar del Plata, Argentina, to discuss children's environmental health issues. The outcome of the meeting was the commitment--announced in the form of a declaration--to further collective and national work on children's environmental health. Specific joint activities were planned for Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay with the participation of Argentinean professionals. Presidents of the pediatric societies will launch CEH activities in their countries and will report on these at the World Congress on Pediatrics in Cancun, Mexico (August 2004). View the declaration:
Follow-up: First International Training Workshop on Children's Environment Health
With an attendance of nearly 500, the First International Training Workshop on Children's Environmental Health was held 1 October 2003 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Topics discussed in the context of the workshop included "Why children?: A new pediatric morbidity – the need to consider CEH"; "The special vulnerability of developing fetus, infant, child and adolescent"; "Chemical, physical and biological risks in the child/adolescent’s environments"; "Air, water and food pollution"; "Toxichemicals in neurodevelopment"; "Exposure to heavy metals and pesticides"; "Endocrine disruptors"; "Environmental risk for hospitalized children"; "The Pediatric Environmental History, a tool for pediatricians"; "Advocacy needs: raising awareness and motivating action"; and "Environmental Pediatric Units". Experts from the following organizations delivered presentations on this occasion: the Argentine Society of Doctors for the Environment (AAMMA); the Argentinean Society of Pediatrics (SAP); the Environmental Pediatric Units of Mount Sinai Hospital and George Washington University; the International Network on Children’s Health, Environment and Safety (INCHES); the International Pediatric Association (IPA), the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE), and WHO. More information: http://www.aamma.org/consap.htm.
Follow-up: Inaugural Meeting of the IPA Children's Environmental Health Committee
On 2 and 3 October 2003, the first meeting of the Children's Environmental Health Committee of the International Pediatric Association (IPA) took place in Mar de Plata, Argentina. The main objectives of the meeting were to exchange information on the environmental health activities of IPA, WHO and HECA, and on specific activities of the committee members; plan what should be accomplished within the next five years; discuss training on environmental health and the promotion of pediatric environmental history; plan for the International Congress of Pediatrics (Cancun, August 2004); and propose potential partnerships.