U.S. think tank de­bunks WHO re­ports on en­vi­ron­men­tal causes of child mor­tal­ity

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Development -

The Wash­ing­ton D.C.-based Com­pet­i­tive En­ter­prise In­sti­tute (CEI) has re­leased its anal­y­sis on a pair of re­ports by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) pub­lished in March. The CEI anal­y­sis coun­ters the WHO re­ports – which link the 1.7 mil­lion an­nual deaths of chil­dren un­der 5 years old to the en­vi­ron­ment – call­ing them mislead­ing and ir­re­spon­si­ble as­ser­tions that pol­lu­tion poses greater health chal­lenges in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries than the lack of eco­nomic growth and de­vel­op­ment.

The first WHO study, Inheriting a Sus­tain­able World: At­las on Chil­dren's

Health and the En­vi­ron­ment, pro­vides an up­date on the lat­est fac­tors that af­fect chil­dren's health, in­clud­ing "in­creas­ing ur­ban­iza­tion, in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion, glob­al­iza­tion and cli­mate change." The

sec­ond re­port, Don't Pol­lute My Fu­ture! The Im­pact of the En­vi­ron­ment on Chil­dren's

Health, demon­strates the causes of the prob­lems, in­clud­ing in­ad­e­quate ac­cess to clean wa­ter and proper san­i­ta­tion sys­tems. Pol­icy rec­om­men­da­tions out­lined in the re­ports in­clude re­duc­ing the use of fos­sil fu­els and cer­tain toxic chem­i­cals.

How­ever, An­gela Lo­go­masini, CEI Se­nior Fel­low and au­thor of Pol­luted Logic Taints

WHO Re­ports on Chil­dren's Health says these sup­posed so­lu­tions will do more harm than good be­cause “pol­lu­tion” is not re­ally the is­sue as much as the lack of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. The au­thor says mar­ket-driven eco­nomic growth, rather than po­lit­i­cally man­aged “sus­tain­able growth,” is the key to im­prov­ing public health.

“Re­cent WHO re­ports cre­ate an in­ac­cu­rate and in­com­plete im­pres­sion that 'in­dus­trial pol­lu­tion' is at the core of chil­dren's mor­tal­ity rates in the de­vel­op­ing world," says Lo­go­masini. "By defin­ing chil­dren's health chal­lenges as driven by en­vi­ron­men­tal haz­ards, the WHO fails to ad­dress the real is­sue – poverty.”

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