Winter 2002     Vol. 10, Issue 1
2003 World Health Day Promotes Healthy Environments for Children
The greatest environmental threats to children’s health lurk in the places that should be the safest — home, school and community. Every year, more than 5 million children die from diseases related to their environments. These diseases include diarrhoea, malaria and other vector-borne diseases, respiratory illnesses, neuro-behavioural disorders, and accidents and injuries.

On April 7, 2003, this year’s World Health Day, entitled “Healthy Environments for Children,” ( will address this crisis by raising awareness, stimulating debate, motivating national movements and galvanising people into action to safeguard their children’s environment. It will further enhance the Healthy Environments for Children Alliance (HECA) — an initiative presented at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2002 by the World Health Organization and its partners (e-mail: or

HECA is designed to catalyse joint action to tackle poverty-related environments and risks to children’s health. The alliance will focus its actions on settings where children live, especially the home environment, which traditionally has been neglected. It will also promote effective interventions on policy, education, awareness, technology development and behavioural change — interventions to be implemented by policy- and decision-makers, householders, communities, educators, government officials and other stakeholders. The alliance will further support national and local movements that are visible and vibrant, while catalysing the efforts of interested parties, coordinating actions and strengthening networks.

Center for Communications, Health and the Environment
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