GP: Long-Term Governmental Programme "Environment and Health" - Poland PDF Print E-mail

Joanna Pruchnicka, Janina Wuczyñska, Newsletter, Polish Environmental Health Action Plan, Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, Sosnowiec, Vol. 1, 2002

On June the 5th, 2001, according to the Decree of the Council of Ministers no. 64/2001, the Long-Term Governmental Programme „Environment and Health” has been established as a joint action of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Science. Its implementation has been planned for the years 2000-2003. The programme is coordinated by the Minister of Health and managed on everyday basis by the Plenipotentiary of Minister of Health and Minister of Environment (Director of the Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health in Sosnowiec).

The Long-Term Programme “Environment and Health” has been developed according to national policy contained in the Constitution of Poland (article 68: “Public authorities are responsible for combating epidemic diseases and prevention of negative health effects of environmental degradation”) and the National Health Programme (Target 8 – discussed under separate article). The requirements of the European Union on development of comprehensive information system on environmentally-related health effects, as a basis for environment and health actions, has also been taken into account. Prevention of environmentally-related diseases should include actions aimed at environmental pollution abatement as well as at mitigation and elimination of health effects. In the programme document, collaboration between environment and health sectors and participation of economic sectors and other partners (NGOs, public opinion) is stressed as a prerequisite for the success of the programme.

“The Long-Term Programme on ‘Environment and Health’ - says Prof. Jerzy A. Sokal, Plenipotentiary of Minister of Health and Minister of Environment – has been prepared to develop and implement efficient system for prevention of environmental health hazards, following the requirements of the European Union and recommendations of the WHO”.

This objective will be accomplished through implementation of three main groups of tasks:
1. Implementation of a modern system for identification, quantification and assessment of health hazards related to exposure to harmful environmental factors.
2. Stimulation, planning, implementation and monitoring of environment and health actions.
3. Development and implementation of a modern medical prevention of environmental pollution – related diseases.

Tasks undertaken within the framework of the programme will provide information on the environmental health hazards currently occurring in Poland and prognosis on the follow-up environmental health situation. The programme will provide tools for environmental management at the central and local levels, based on indicators of health quality of the environment and the magnitude of environmental health risk.

The programme assumes increase of effectiveness of resource planning and management in the field of environmental health and environmentally-oriented medical prevention.. The long-term effect of the programme is the elimination of environmental diseases and enhancement of ecological safety of the population of Poland. In the year 2000, some actions of the programme were launched following the decision of the Economic Committee of the Council of Ministers. The programme has been supported by the WHO/DEPA Project on implementation of the National Environmental Health Action Plans (discussed under separated article).

The following implementation tasks have been undertaken within the framework of the programme:
- information system on environment and health for environmental health management and public communication;
- promotion of environment and health actions aimed at stimulation of national, local and sectoral actions and at increase of public participation;
- development of methodology on Environmental Health Impact Assessment, strategic Environmental Impact Assessment and determination of safe environmental exposure limits;
- medical prevention of health effects of excessive environmental exposure to identify the most exposed populations and to undertake environmental and medical intervention;
- capacity building in the field of environmental health addressed to health and environment administration, health and environment control services as well as to other partners involved in environment and health actions;
- postgraduate education of environmental health professionals.

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