Thematic HPG Meeting 2017
As an effort to highlight the active role of Technical Working Group, the Health Partnership Group Secretariat and the World Health Organization facilitated and supported the Technical Working Group on Environmental Health to organize the Thematic Health Partnership Group (HPG) Meeting 2017 with the theme of “Air Pollution and health”. The meeting was jointly held in Hanoi on November 27, 2017 by the International Cooperation Department (ICD) and the Health Environmental Management Agency (VIHEMA) of the Ministry of Health with the financial support from WHO. The Meeting was chaired by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi Giang Huong, Director General of ICD; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thi Lien Huong, Director General of VIHEMA; Mr. Yamasaki Toshiyuky, environmental expert of JICA with the participation of the representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Construction; the provincial Departments of Health, the provincial Departments of Natural Resources and Environment, the local and international organizations etc.
Addressing in the opening session, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi Giang Huong said that the air pollution indicators in Viet Nam remained in high level, more than half the days a year were claimed as bad air days. She added that air pollution was currently one of the top factors having seriously negative impacts on public health. A report of the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that 530.000 deaths per year from respiratory illnesses were associated to air pollution. In addition, among 2 million children dying from acute respiratory infections every year, 60% deaths were related to air pollution. The Director General of ICD said that the situation required the enhancement of co-operation between the Ministries, industries and especially the formation of a health environmental working group including representatives from all related Ministries, industries and organizations.
The participants to the meeting shared and discussed the matters related to air pollution and health. Regarding the solutions to minimize the negative impacts of air pollution on health, the international experts said that in addition to the inter-agency co-operation and international cooperation, it is also important to identify the obstacles of legal and human resources administration.
Based on the contents of the meeting, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi Giang Huong concluded a number of recommendations:
For the related Ministries/ agencies/ industries, it is necessary to strengthen the inter-sectoral collaboration in the process of developing and implementing the policies, regulations, and standards related to air pollution management etc. When developing the Action plan and policies on air pollution,the Ministries/ agencies should invite the MOH to participate in the health impact assessment.
For DPs, she kindly requested them to provide the MOH and other relevant Ministries with support to conduct the assessment of air pollution impacts on health so that the MOH would have scientific evidence for developing the related policies. She looked forward to receiving technical assistance from other countries with many experience in developing the criteria and standards for indoor air quality.
She also suggested international organizations and DPs support Viet Nam in enhancing the communication activities about the impacts of air pollution on health and in raising the awareness of people and the whole political system on this issue.
She kindly requested the DPs and organizations to pilot a model for prevention to protect the people and public from the air pollution.