Public health, environmental and social determinants of health (PHE)

WMO and WHO establish joint office for climate and health

World Vision

A new WHO/WMO Climate and Health office has been established under the auspices of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) to promote the coordinated development and use of climate services to improve public health. It will increase awareness, build capacity, and connect meteorological services with experts in the health sector in an active partnership for climate adaptation and risk management.

Access to better drinking-water and sanitation makes progress

Cover of JMP report 2014
WHO/UNICEF

8 May 2014 -- Since 1990, almost 2 billion people globally have gained access to improved sanitation and 2.3 billion have gained access to drinking-water from improved sources. Some 1.6 billion of these people have piped water connections in their homes or compounds, according to a new WHO/UNICEF report, which also shows a diminishing gap in access to cleaner water and better sanitation between rural and urban areas.

Air quality deteriorating in many of the world's cities

7 May 2014
Air quality deteriorating in many of the world's cities

Air quality in most cities worldwide that monitor outdoor (ambient) air pollution fails to meet WHO guidelines for safe levels, putting people at additional risk of respiratory disease and other health problems. WHO’s urban air quality database covers 1600 cities across 91 countries. Only 12% of the people living in cities reporting on air quality reside in cities where the quality complies with WHO air quality guideline levels.

Health through a better environment

Environmental hazards are responsible for as much as a quarter of the total burden of disease world-wide, and more than one-third of the burden among children. Heading that list are diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, various forms of unintentional injuries and malaria. The disease burden is much higher in the developing world, although in the case of certain non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers, the per capita disease burden is larger in developed countries. Health impacts of environmental hazards run across more than 80 diseases and types of injury.
Well-targeted interventions can prevent much of this environmental risk.
Worldwide, as many as 13 million deaths could be prevented every year by making our environments healthier.

In focus