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

World Health Assembly adopts resolution on air pollution

Plenary hall at the closing day of the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly.
WHO/V. Martin

The World Health Assembly concluded on Tuesday 26 May, with Director-General Dr Margaret Chan noting that it had passed several “landmark resolutions and decisions”. Three new resolutions were passed today: one on air pollution, one on epilepsy and one laying out the next steps in finalizing a framework of engagement with non-State actors.

Delegates at the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution to address the health impacts of air pollution – the world’s largest single environmental health risk. This was the first time the Health Assembly had debated the topic.

Health and environment at the 68th World Health Assembly

The 68th World Health Assembly will be held from 18-26th May in Geneva. Among the key Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of health topics to be discussed and/or events to be held at this year`s World Health Assembly include:

Health in all policies training manual

This manual provides a resource for training and to increase understanding of the importance of Health in All Policies by health and other professionals. The material will form the basis of two- or three-day workshops, which will:

  • build capacity to promote, implement and evaluate HiAP;
  • encourage engagement and collaboration across sectors;
  • facilitate the exchange of experiences and lessons learned;
  • promote regional and global collaboration on HiAP; and
  • promote dissemination of skills to develop training courses for trainers.

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