Health Systems and Healthy Environments
Health systems are complex, overemphasize health care delivery, and underplay environmental health despite its impact on the quality and safety of health care. Environmental health includes water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, medical and hazardous waste management, drainage, vector control and proper cleaning. Deficiencies increase health care costs and nosocomial infections, decrease quality of care and create ‘downstream’ risks such as community exposure to infectious and toxic hazards and contributes to the proliferation of antibiotic resistance.
Health systems can improve health outcomes, reduce the cost of care, enable ministries of health to increase investment in population health by mobilizing to incorporate environmental health.
The Water Institute seeks to mobilize health care providers, clinic supervisors, clinic managers and other health systems actors to integrate evidence-based environmental health considerations with infection control practices. This will reduce health inequities and improve the safety and quality of health care provision.
Examples of projects include: