This guidance note examines the conditions which determine whether an environmental hazard is responsible for a substantial amount of disease and whether feasible measures are available to prevent it. It considers three problems which account for nearly three quarters of the environmental burden of disease: 1) water, sanitation and hygiene, 2) indoor air pollution, and 3) injuries. The final part of this notes considers how DFID and its partners can act to improve the health of the poor through improving environmental conditions.
- There are five main types of approaches which can improve environmental health: 1) achieving effective behavioral change, 2) improved governance, including regulation and legislation where appropriate, 3) improved service delivery, 4) appropriate infrastructure, and 5) finance and social marketing.
- Environmental health contributes most directly to the goals of reducing child mortality, extending access to water and sanitation, and improving the lives of urban slum dwellers.
- Measures to improve environmental health are no less cost-effective than curative ones, but they have often been neglected in the past as they require multi-sectoral interventions.