Running Head: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE 1
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE 8
Population Health and the Environment
Population Health and the Environment
Population health and environment is constantly becoming a matter of concern in everybody since natural resources and public health are adversely affected by factors such as an increase in population and poverty, and diseases among others. Therefore, for any given community to achieve a sustainable development there is the need to ensure that there is an understanding of the connection between population, health, and the environment without forgetting to tackle the socio-economic context in which they occur (Steenkamer, Drewes, Heijink, Baan & Struijs, 2017). Elsewhere, there is the need for public health professionals and the governments of the day to work together to ensure that specific projects regarding population, health, and environment are established to the complex connection between human beings, their personal health and the environment in which they exist. Doing this will simultaneously increase and improve an access to health care services while at the same time helping communities to manage natural resources around them. This initiative enables them to improve their health as well as their livelihoods while at the same time conserving the critical ecosystems that they largely depend on for their survival. This paper provides comprehensive answers to question regarding population, health and the environment.
It is evident that environmental health research uses four principal methods of research such as epidemiology, risk assessment, risk awareness and risk management. By using epidemiology, the health care providers engage in a quantitative research by primarily focusing on the determinants as well as the distribution of health outcomes in any given community or population under study. Furthermore, this method is used in documenting health effects and their relationship with environmental hazards. Elsewhere, epidemiological studies can be used by healthcare practitioners to study a broad range of hazards that may include social factors that affect the health of a given population or hazardous chemical in the environment (Steenkamer et al., 2017). Therefore, one needs to realize that epidemiological studies increase awareness and understanding of how increased exposure to hazards affect the health status of a community by looking at the research findings as well as how an exposure to environmental hazards can adversely impact the whole community.
Healthcare practitioners use risk assessment methods in conducting environmental health studies as well as how hazards affect the wellness of a population. Risk assessment is an applied science method with a set of procedures that are used for integrating and evaluating gathered scientific information regarding toxicity and exposure to environmental hazards and their risk to the public health. This method is vital in creating and increasing awareness among the community members with regards to increased exposure to environmental hazards thus enabling them to avoid contacts or exposure to chemicals that might have an adverse effect on their overall health.
Public health officials use risk communication method to avail vital information to the members of the public about the potential problems associated with certain hazards within the environment. This is a scientific method or approach for communicating effectively and efficiently to the community about any given situation of high concern or high risk to the community. By using this method, the participants or the members of the community are made aware of the risks associated with certain environmental hazards thus creating awareness of their potential danger which in return reduces the chances of the population getting in contact with the said hazards. Furthermore, the community is made aware of the hazards and involved participate in policy-making processes regarding environmental hazards.
In many cases, public health officials use a risk management method to determine what environmental health risks exist and device a way to manage them in a way that protects both human health and the environment. This method evaluates how best to protect the public health by determining how much of a substance is disposed of into the water basin and the effect it has on the aquatic environment as well as the human health (Steenkamer et al., 2017). Equally, using this method enables public health officials to determine and decide which substance ought to be stored in a hazardous waste disposal facility so as to avoid contact with the human population within a given area. By using this method, the public health officials are able to create awareness and increase an understanding of how exposure to toxic substances or hazards may affect the community by providing vital information on the potential health risks and ecological risks thus reducing the possibility of the public getting into contact with the hazards.
There are three ways that researchers evaluate the danger of environmental hazards on a given population. These include prioritizing and scoring risks, risk probability and impact, and ranking. All the mentioned methods prove to be useful in evaluating the danger of an identified hazard to the community. These methods can be used to evaluate an already exposed community by:
· Prioritizing and scoring risk can be used by researchers to reach a consensus on the level of risk associated with the identified environmental hazards. By doing this researchers can assess and evaluate the impact of the risk as low, medium or high but may agree on the actual score for mapping purposes.
· By using the risk probability and impact method, the researchers may carry out risk impact analysis of the effect of the chosen hazards. It is a useful method in evaluating the potential impact of the exposure to hazards in a given community or population. This can be done by examining the selected representatives of the community.
· By using the ranking approach, researchers will be able to evaluate the level of risks based on the identified hazards’ exposure. This is done by considering the consequences of each risk as well as the probability of its occurrence.
There are various health risks that are present in the natural environment. These include but not limited to poor sanitation and hygiene, tobacco smoking and unsafe drinking water. Poor sanitation and hygiene have adverse effects on human health in the sense that it causes a number of diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, schistosomiasis, and trachoma among others. Poor sanitation and hygiene lead to the degradation of the urban environment whereby there is the rampant disposal of untreated human waste in water bodies leading to waterborne diseases. Elsewhere, every community if fighting for the control of tobacco smoking due to the obvious reason that smoking of cigarettes leads to cancers and another disease (Steenkamer et al., 2017). Moreover, many people have been victims of secondary smoking causing them to contract diseases that have cost them quite a fortune. It is obvious that smoking causes a wide range of respiratory diseases by damaging the airways. On the other hand, unsafe drinking water has been one of the leading causes of deaths in Africa and other parts of the world. It is estimated that the world loses close to eight hundred and forty thousand people each year as a result of drinking contaminated water. Unsafe drinking water causes gastrointestinal infections, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, and typhoid causing deaths of thousands of people (Yavinsky, Lamere, Patterson & Bremner, 2015). One example of three specific dangers to human health in daily lives is the degradation of the environment. This is because all the mentioned health risks result in the erosion of the natural environment that supports human life.
It is evident that infectious diseases are the leading cause of deaths and disabilities in the United States and other parts of the world. Furthermore, the historical facts reveal that infectious diseases are increasingly threatening the public health both in the United States and elsewhere and substantially contribute to the escalation of healthcare costs. Therefore, in this regard, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention plays a significant part in supporting health promotions, preventions and preparedness through the creation of awareness about infectious diseases so as to improve the overall public health. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention works in partnership with different levels of government right from the federal to the local level to monitor and prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases in the United States. Furthermore, it implements disease prevention strategies as well as maintaining national health statistics. Equally, the CDC educates the public on how to recognize and avoid contracting infectious diseases as well as increasing surveillance and reforming health policies (Yavinsky et al., 2015. One of the most significant environmental hazards that prove to be a challenge to the CDC is the prevalence of chemicals in the air. For instance, it is evident that nearly all American citizens who drive to and from work use vehicles that burn fossil fuels to propel their engines. This causes carbon emission into the air leading to quite a number of diseases associated with the trapping of solar energy. For instance, it is factual that an increased exposure to carbon emission causes respiratory allergies such as asthma.
Steenkamer, B. M., Drewes, H. W., Heijink, R., Baan, C. A., & Struijs, J. N. (2017). Defining population health management: a scoping review of the literature. Population health management, 20(1), 74-85.
Yavinsky, R. W., Lamere, C., Patterson, K. P., & Bremner, J. (2015). The impact of population health and environment projects: a synthesis of the evidence.