Paediatricians for a Healthy Environment

A group of Argentine paediatricians has been combining work on environmental protection and child health for more than 10 years. It appears a basic principle to apply, but the task is turning out to be increasingly challenging and complex. “We can’t clean up a river, or give a family a new house, but we can teach people to put chlorine in the water,” Dr. Stella Maris Gil, the coordinator of the Environmental Paediatric Unit (UPA) at the Pedro de Elizalde Children’s Hospital in the Constitución neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, told IPS. The UPA provides health care with a strong environmental component, educates the public using the hospital, trains doctors and carries out research, explained Gil and other paediatricians belonging to the unit. “The idea arose in the 2001 crisis,” Gil said, referring to the economic and social collapse at the end of that year, when poverty and unemployment reached unprecedented levels in Argentina and also had an impact on health. “We were seeing a lot of illness connected to poor living conditions: respiratory diseases, gastroenteritis, skin infections … So we decided to give courses on the impact of environmental pollution on health, and we devised a project aimed at protecting the environment in order to provide better health care for children,” she said. The project, which gave rise to the UPA, had a healthcare component “with strong environmental awareness,” Gil said, ...
Source: IPS Inter Press Service - Health - Category: Global & Universal Authors: Tags: Active Citizens Civil Society Development & Aid Environment Featured Headlines Health Human Rights Latin America & the Caribbean Poverty & MDGs Regional Categories Women's Health Argentina Maternal and Child Health Pollution Source Type: news

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