Water and Public Health


The theme of APHA’s annual meeting is Water and Public Health. During the opening general session Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) underlined the effects of climate change on human health, the new challenges faced by global health and the importance of access to safe water. Dr. Periago reinforced that combining water, sanitation and hygiene interventions can reduce up to 80% of the preventable water borne and related disease. The Millennium Development Goal target for 7c is to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Dr. Periago stated that a one dollar investment in water and sanitation provides a $46 savings in social and development cost. The ideal would be to have water, climate change and equity addressed in a combined sustainable approach.

Celine Cousteau reinforced the importance of the connection between people and the environment. Ms. Cousteau is a story teller whose passion preserving our natural resources is equaled by her passion to bring health care to the indigenous people of the Vale do Javari reserve in Brazil. The film Amazon Promise is a celebration of one organization’s goal to bring health care to those in need…. the same passion found in so many of our public health workers around the globe.

APHA Annual Meeting Begins!



The 2009 Annual APHA meeting has officially begun! The International Health Section has assembled a list of sessions and meetings related to international health for your use. Our blogs from the conference will provide a glimpse into the vast knowledge shared by our colleagues. The conference will continue through November 7, we hope you enjoy it.

Stories from the Field: Necessary Angels

0014Within the public health community, Community-Based Primary Health Care (CBPHC) is a common point of discussion. But rarely has the story been told by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author or captured in pictures for the National Geographic Magazine. The December 2008 edition shared with the world the story of The Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP) in Jamkhed, India. “Necessary Angels” was the fitting title to a story of history and hope for village health workers who have healed communities, saved lives and transformed the place of the untouchable caste in the process. Continue reading “Stories from the Field: Necessary Angels”

Stories from the Field: Realities of field work at 14,000 feet.

High in China’s western Qinghai province is a small village where project DROLMA is based. The population consists of 2,800 nomadic people who move twice a year, to and from their summer encampments which reach 15,420 feet into the sky. The conditions are harsh with short growing seasons; their traditional diet consists of roasted barley flour mixed with yak butter and salted tea. A centrally located monastery with 52 monks in residence provides the spiritual guidance for this community. It was the wisdom of one of their spiritual leaders that made the project a reality. He reached out for assistance, seeking new ideas for problems that have challenged his people for decades. Continue reading “Stories from the Field: Realities of field work at 14,000 feet.”