The attainment of sustainable development by creating friendly environment conducive to health can only be realized through the enhancement of an environment that is free from biological, chemical and physical hazards emanating from local, national and international sources. In this regard, environmental health plays a pivotal role in the endeavor to create and foster an environment that is safe to work, recreate and live. It is in fact one of the most essential elements and preconditions for development. The primary and principal step deemed imperative in the effort to deliver environmental health services is the development and formulation of comprehensive and sound policy in the sector.
The Environmental Health Policy (EHP) programme aims to assist countries in their endeavor to realizing the achievement of sustainable development by creating an environment conducive to health through the development and formulation of Environmental Health Policy and strengthening/development of their capacities to render sound Environmental Health Services.
Each government program has 1 or more policies stemmed from the general environmental policies that govern their strategies. A few of these programs are the Sanitary, Climate change, and Air quality and health.
1. Policy Statement of the National Environmental Health Association
Regarding cutbacks in the environmental health workforce
For the health, well being and welfare of our communities throughout the nation,
the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) strongly urges
that environmental health programs be maintained at the staffing and funding
levels necessary in order for them to continue to be effective.
Environmental health programs serve to prevent illness, injury and even
death. NEHA asserts that such programs result in an overall net economic gain for
the community based on disease prevention, extended lives, enhanced productivity
and less time lost from work. These programs improve the overall quality of life in
communities throughout the nation because they materially reduce environmental
threats to health.
In addition, these very programs operate to protect communities against emergency
situations (such as terrorism events, acts of nature, pandemics, etc.). If this
important infrastructure was compromised due to reductions in this workforce,
communities become more vulnerable to the dangers and consequences of
Nightingale was very specific in her recommendations on how to utilize the environment in optimizing environmental factors to improve patient comfort and to facilitate health and healing. Nightingale, a sublime example for nurses , discusses in her theory about air quality, water quality, noise, light, and diet and nutrition, (Shaner 2006) which are aspects wherein environmental programs revolve. Being nurses like Nightingale, we play key roles in protecting the health of all people; are in direct contact with patients, families, and communities from many cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds; and have the credibility and access that enables us to provide scientifically sound information about environmental issues and toxic exposures. Therefore we have an important role in environmental health.
Since each program that health organizations form needs different levels of skills, we believe that proper and specialization trainings provided to nurses would be a great investment. Trainings will harness the equipped nurses and will consequently produce more competent outcome. With the high number of unemployed nurses and the governments need for helping hands, a symbiotic relationship can arise that will benefit the society.
1. Are the policies concrete enough to implement?
2. Are the policies being implemented?
3. Should nurses have a bigger take on environmental health such as going through specialized trainings concerning a particular program before participating for a more solid foundation?
4.Should the government utilize the registered nurses in the environmental programs to carry out the policy of Environmental Health ?
WHO Regional Office Africa (2010) Environmental Health
Retrieved April 20, 2010 from
WHO Regional Office Africa (2010) Fact sheet N°266
Retrieved April 20, 2010 from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs266/en/print.html
NEHA (2009)Policy Statement of the National Environmental Health Association
Retrieved April 20, 2010 from