211436 Water and social determinants of health

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:30 PM

Doris Glick, PhD , The University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Janet Gottschalk, RN, DrPH, FAAN , Retired, Retired, Washington, DC, DC
Water is necessary for survival of all life on earth. Whether on not people have access to safe water and sanitation directly impacts their level of health and determines the rate of disease and death. Public Health Nurses have a role in ensuring the provision of safe water for all people. The social determinants of health are those factors that determine the extent to which a person has the physical, social and personal resources to satisfy needs, strive for personal goals, and cope with the environment (Raphael). The WHO Report on the Social Determinants of Health asserts that lack of health care is not the cause of the huge global burden of illness: water-borne diseases are not caused by lack of antibiotics but by dirty water, and by the political, social, and economic forces that fail to make clean water available to all. The Commission views access to clean water and health care as basic human needs vital to health and well-being and that should be made available to all people in the world, regardless of ability to pay. It is the public sector rather than the marketplace that is responsible for adequate supply and access, and wholesesale privatization of water should be discouraged. Globalization has facilitated insight into provision of water and sanitation services, especially where government capacity is weak. The Report calls for public sector leadership to be vigorous in ensuring the provision of goods and services such as water, health care, and decent working conditions, and in curtailing circulation of health-damaging commodities such as tobacco and alcohol. Public health nurses have the knowledge and skills needed to provide the leadership needed to address these critical issues impacting the availability of safe water for all people.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explore at least two roles of Public Health Nurses in ensuring the provision of safe water for all people. 2. Discuss the relationship between the social determinants of health and access and availabiltiy of safe water.

Keywords: Social Inequalities, Water

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I teach about social determinants of health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.