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APRIL 11, 2013 Ecohealth: a new approach to health?

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Presentation on theme: "APRIL 11, 2013 Ecohealth: a new approach to health?"— Presentation transcript:

1 APRIL 11, 2013 Ecohealth: a new approach to health?

2 Objectives What is Ecohealth ? The Origin of Ecohealth 6 Principles of Ecohealth IDRC and Ecohealth International Example: Chagas Disease in Guatemala Canadian Example: Northern Health Authority Summary

3 What is Ecohealth? Health and well-being are considered in the context of dynamic interactions between society, economies, and ecosystems (Charron, 2012) Systems-based approaches to health and wellbeing in the context of social and ecological interactions (Webb et al., 2012) Ecohealth recognizes that healthy environments and sustainable use of ecosystems is directly related to human health

4 Origin of Ecohealth: The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion Our societies are complex and interrelated. Health cannot be separated from other goals. The inextricable links between people and their environment constitute the basis for a socioecological approach to health. The overall guiding principle for the world, nations, regions and communities alike is the need to encourage reciprocal maintenance – to take care of each other, our communities and our natural environment. WHO (1986). Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion.

5 Origin of Ecohealth International Association of Ecology and Health (2004) Journal – Ecohealth (2004) CoPEH – Canadian Community of Practice in Ecosystem approaches to Health (2008)

6 6 Principles of Ecohealth 1. Systems Thinking Exposes patterns and linkages between social-economic systems and ecosystems Examines boundaries and dynamics of a problem from several perspectives and different scales 2. Transdisciplinary Research Integrates methodologies, theories and concepts from different academic disciplines with non-academic perspectives 3. Participation Leads to locally rooted innovation, cooperation and collaboration

7 6 Principles of Ecohealth (con.) 4. Sustainability Integration of ecological and social sustainability underpin the field of ecohealth 5. Gender and Social Equity Health research cannot ignore health differences between members of different social, economic, class, age or gender groups These differences are reflected in their relationships with ecosystems, their exposure to different health risks, status and well-being 6. Knowledge-to-Action Action-oriented approach to research to improve health and well- being, and to promote equity and sustainability

8 IDRC and Ecohealth Good health is essential for development. It relies on healthy environments and sustainable use of ecosystems. ws/2012/03/chagas-disease/

9 International Example: Chagas Disease in Guatemala Parasite: Trpansoma cruzi Kill more than 10,000 people/year Triatoma dimidiata carrier in C. America Chagas risk in Guatemala is closely related to poor socio-economic conditions, certain cultural characteristics, adobe housing construction and poor hygienic conditions T. dimidiata enters the house through cracks in the walls and ceilings which are particularly common in adobe houses

10 Chagas disease (con.) Ecohealth approach: Systems thinking: Recognized the links between socio-economic status, hygiene and disease transmission Transdisciplinarity: Medical entomology, anthropology, microbiology, architecture and civil engineering – working together Collaboration with local public health officers, village authorities and ordinary citizens Participation: Principles of participation were sought through various activities, emphasis was placed on taking local traditions into consideration Engineers and architects worked with villagers to find best local materials for wall plaster and confirmed with lab assays Research leaders and community leaders worked with municipal authorities to ensure long-term access to sand

11 Chagas disease (con.) Gender and Social Equity: Anthropologist targeted hygiene and yard cleanliness by working with the women Livestock kept from entering the house and living area and reduced spread from animals Sustainability: Local community self-development approach, rather than just focusing on disease control Culturally sensitive approach used similar plaster technique that had been previously used, with slight adjustments to help with uptake and long-term use Knowledge-to-Action: Final intervention was based on research findings, local knowledge and practices and was realistic in both economic and cultural senses and that supported long-term long goals.

12 Canadian Example: Northern Health Northern Healths position on the Environment as a Context for Health is being achieved by working with individuals, organisations and community partners Supports social and environmental development as important contexts for health Developed an integrated settings approaches to support interaction and connections among the settings for health (where people live, work, learn and play). Position Paper Approved by Northern Health Executive, June StatementsAddressingRiskFactors.aspx

13 Canadian Example: Northern Health (con.)

14 Summary Ecohealth is a new field that has encouraged innovative, cross-disciplinary work both internationally and within Canada 6 Ecohealth principles Systems thinking Transdisciplinarity Participation Sustainability Gender and Social Equity Knowledge-to-Action Encourages dialogue and partnerships between different groups and recognizes the relationships between human and ecological health

15 References Charron, D.F. (2012). Ecosystems approaches to health for a global sustainability agenda. EcoHealth. 9: IDRC (2012). Ecohealth Research in Practice: Innovate Applications of an Ecosystem Approach to Health. (Ed. Charron). Northern Health (2012). Position on the Environment as a Context for Health: An Integrated Settings Approach. Webb JC, Mergler D, Parkes MW, Saint-Charles J, Spiegel J, Waltner-Toews D, Yassi A, Wollard RF (2010). Tools for thoughtful action: the role of ecosystem approaches to health in enhancing public health. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 101(6): WHO (1986). Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Geneva, Switzerland.

16 Web Sources Canadian Community of Practice in Ecosystem Approaches to Health Green Planet Monitor (accessed April 9, 2013) IDRC – Ecosystems and Health pproaches_to_Human_Health/Pages/default.aspx International Association for Ecology and Health Northern Health px

17 Questions?


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