Issues, strategy and objectives
Issues and strategy
Rapid economic development has brought about urbanization and industrialization, including modernization of agricultural technology and practices in many countries. Economic development has led to technological advances which have greatly improved diagnosis and treatment of diseases. More and more people are living longer lives and changes in physical and social environments have often adversely affected the health and safety of various population groups.
The growth of the urban population has led to the overloading of urban infrastructure and services (e.g. housing, water and energy supply, sewage and solid waste management, road transport systems, etc.), causing sanitation and pollution problems as well as accidents. The overcrowding helps transmit infectious diseases more easily, while air, water and noise pollution causes illness among exposed population. The modernization of agriculture and the development of mining and manufacturing industries have introduced new chemical and physical health hazards to both the workplace and general population. The rapid urban and industrial development has also created a social environment that has resulted in an increase in lifestyle-related and psychosocial health problems (e.g. obesity; hypertension; excessive alcohol drinking; tobacco smoking; drug abuse; violence) among population groups in various settings.
Healthy settings which call for an intersectoral approach to identifying priority health problems in a given local setting and developing integrated sustainable responses to address these problems have been promoted in the Region. The concept of healthy settings has been applied to cities, islands, villages/communities, schools, workplaces and hospitals. To support effective implementation of the healthy settings approach, WHO also collaborates with countries in the Region to strengthen national environmental health and health promotion infrastructures; to set national standards; to establish monitoring and surveillance systems; and to adopt appropriate technologies and methods.
(1) To prevent or reduce health risks associated with changes in physical and social environments and to promote healthy lifestyles in specific settings.
(2) To strengthen national capacity so as to: assess and monitor the health impacts and risks associated with development activities; identify and implement appropriate health protection and health promotion measures; and encourage cooperation among sectors in order to mitigate adverse health impacts and manage health risks.