Pollution major cause of disease, disability
About 50 percent of the disease burden of malnutrition, which refers to the impact of diseases associated with malnutrition as measured in financial cost, mortality and morbidity, is attributable to the environment, according to a presentation at the international IMPACT conference yesterday.
Malnutrition is responsible for about half of all child deaths in the world.
Anwarul Amin, chairman of IMPACT Foundation Bangladesh (IFB), and Dr Hasib Mahmud, IFB's director, who jointly made the power point presentation, also said developing countries and children accounted for most of the four million environmentally-caused deaths taking place worldwide each year.
With the theme, “Protecting Environment, Reducing Diseases, Preventing Disability”, the three-day conference began at Brac Centre for Development Management in Savar on Thursday.
Amin said about one-quarter of the global disease burden was due to modifiable environmental factors.
Participating in the four sessions yesterday, speakers cited environment pollution as a major contributor to diseases, disabilities, malnutrition, poverty, and deaths.
Around 43 delegates from over 10 countries including the United Kingdom, Nepal, India, Switzerland, Cambodia, Norway, and the Philippines are expected to join the conference.
In her presentation, Judi Stagg, chief executive of IMPACT Foundation UK, said every year 100 million people were pushed into poverty because they had to pay for health services directly.
She also said over a billion people, or 15 percent of the world's population, were estimated to have some form of disabilities, and 80 percent of these people lived in developing countries.
The sessions were chaired by David C Walker, chairman of IMPACT UK; Prof Rakesh Prasad Shrivastav, chairman of IMPACT Nepal; Monsur Ahmed Chowdhury, founder trustee of IMPACT Bangladesh; and Dr Ramachandra Pararajasegaram, honorary president of IMPACT Switzerland.
IMPACT was founded in late 1982 with the aim that no one should become needlessly disabled by diseases, lack of knowledge, or shortage of medical services.
IMPACT Foundation Bangladesh came into existence in 1993. It offers healthcare services to underprivileged communities and operates a floating hospital, “Jibon Tari”, in the country.