Subtopic a) environmental health, healthy environments for the promotion of health and well-being.
Environmental Health includes aspects of human health and quality of life that are influenced by environmental factors, which include physical, chemical, biological, social and psychosocial factors. It also refers to the theory and practice of the evaluation, control and prevention of said factors.
In general, the territories are made up of migratory flows of people attracted by the opportunities that offer the natural wealth and subsoil. However, when the increase in population occurs in a disorderly manner, the health of the population is threatened by several events that are triggered, for example: The pollutant load in the wastewater is increased, which reaches the rivers that are used to irrigate the crops needed to feed the growing population, then the quality of the food decreases as they are irrigated with contaminated water. It also increases the production of solid waste, which implies a collapse of the systems that were designed for a lower capacity and an additional land demand for landfills. Likewise, air pollution increases, given that new industries appear and the vehicle fleet increases, both public and private transport. On the other hand, the increase in demand for electric power and new housing implies an increase in mining exploitation, which creates adverse effects on the environment, which subsequently translate into risks for the health of the populations.
What policies, actions and technologies can mitigate or prevent health hazards, caused by inadequate exploitation of resources and the consequences of the dynamics of disorderly population growth?
Subtopic b) work as a territory of life, health and illness.
Work as a biospace can be understood as a territory whose limits are not static but respond to the dynamics of social construction that arise from the complex relationships established between human beings and the context in which they work. Thus, the work environment can be seen as a scenario of dynamic interrelation between employment conditions (stable employment, precarious employment, informal work, child labor), working conditions (physical, biological, chemical, biomechanical and psychosocial conditions typical of labor activities, as well as organizational factors and production processes) and health.
The health – work relationship is not unidirectional, and, in that sense, it is necessary to affirm that health is necessary to work and work to promote health. Likewise, it can be said that work has the dual property of being configured in a setting of well-being, satisfaction and health; or in a propitious territory in which individual and collective health problems emerge.
The precariousness of employment conditions represents a reduction in social security and an increase in job instability, which is related to the health of the people, not only because of the limitations that this means in health care, the guarantee of have maternity / paternity and sick leave, and the protection of vulnerable populations (e.g. child laborers); but because of the tension generated by the uncertainty of having a job as a source of income, which in turn is associated with mental health problems and the promotion of tacit acceptance of working conditions that can be very harmful to health (e.g. exposure to chemical substances and highly dangerous physical conditions, high risk of accidents, work that represents a high physical exhaustion, strenuous working hours, high workloads, etc.).
On the other hand, the approach of the different forms of production, organization and distribution of work involves differential exposures to working conditions that would be related to particular patterns of health – disease, which represents a challenge to approach this relationship from a classical approach of exposure to risk agents (chemical, physical, biomechanical, psychosocial, etc.), without neglecting the emerging challenges for the health-work relationship derived from new forms and work dynamics (teleworking, temporary work flexibility, work of migrant populations, balance between work and family life, intensification of work, aging of the working population, and incursion of new generations in the workplace, to mention just a few).
In this context, this panel seeks to convene works that allow generating a reflection and discussion around the following question: how is work, as a biospace, configured as a territory in which the health – disease process takes place?
Subtopic c) urban, rural, habitat and health territories.
The habitat refers to the permanent place where people live and involves both geographical and physical spaces and their environments, where production processes are developed, reproducing in a stable way for the perpetuation of the human species. In the territorial organization, the rural and the urban have been distinguished as two different dimensions of these spaces, as extremes of a continuum in which other forms emerge, such as conservation zones for the protection of ecosystems and metropolises, for example. As a permanent place of life, the habitat directly implies healthy housing, road infrastructure and services for mobility, recreation and socialization of community life such as parks, cultural centers, schools, public transport, among others.
The problematic situations that are located in this context have to do most of the time with inequitable access to decent housing that respects the dynamics and cultural practices of the populations in the conception of this space of socialization and life, which has services public and basic sanitation, free from overcrowding and that is safe. Especially critical is access to drinking water, management of solid and liquid waste, exposure to vectors, among others.
In the housing environment, especially in the urban periphery areas, those in which people with high degrees of marginality and social exclusion settle, the possibility of having a healthy habitat is even more limited because they are circumscribed not only to the lack of sufficient services for the quality of life, but also the fact that the low cost of land is an incentive for the proliferation of industrial production generating exposures to risks of a biological and chemical nature, but also to the generation of spontaneous settlements in areas risky. On the other hand, rural areas have historically been those to which less attention is given in the configuration of a healthy habitat, given that it has not been possible to configure differential policies for these populations, in addition to the severity that is expressed in the deficit of infrastructure, services, equipment, etc. State responses to the precariousness of rural housing are not relevant because they tend to extrapolate massive urban housing designs, ignoring the productive role of rural housing as a scenario not only of settlement but of work.
Although the configuration of healthy habitats requires comprehensive and articulated actions of various state sectors, there is a demand for leadership from the health sector, as the habitat is a determining factor to guarantee the right to health due to the impacts that the deficits existing ones generate on individual and collective health.
How are health and system policies contributing to the generation of healthy habitats? What are the consequences that on health are generating deficit of healthy habitat and how these affect health inequities?
Subtopic d) Territory, sovereignty and food security: strategies for health and territorial development.
Food and nutrition security, as well as food sovereignty are recognized as human rights in connection with the life, health and well-being of populations and with the fundamental right of every person not to suffer from hunger. Food security refers to the permanent availability of food, its access and timely consumption in conditions of quality and safety. Food sovereignty has to do with the organization of the production and consumption of local foods, respecting the choices of peoples, their practices and cultural traditions. It also implies the protection and regulation at the national level of agricultural production and the domestic market.
The lack of guarantee of the equitable right to a healthy diet is the cause of undernourishment and malnutrition, conditions that especially affect vulnerable groups and those living in poverty. Hunger, caused by extreme conditions of food shortages and increased costs, not only contributes to the impoverishment of populations but also to the spread of morbidity and mortality in communities. On the other hand, phenomena such as displacement, forced migration, lack of field productivity, climate change, environmental pollution, lack of protection to local production and consumption, bad practices in the food industry, together with globalization phenomena and free trade agreements that transform the dynamics of own production, supply, access and availability of healthy and nutritious food are, among others, the factors that threaten food sovereignty and security. These represent a multidimensional problem and therefore require State actions and public policies in a multisectoral logic that represent comprehensive responses to affect food and nutrition vulnerability, accompanied by adequate monitoring, regulation and intervention mechanisms to guarantee timely availability and access to food.
However, the existing responses do not seem to be enough to address these problems; particularly from the health systems, where the solution is sectored and centered essentially on the individual clinical attention of the problems, with little prevention and promotion actions, and often in the absence of intersectoral logic.
How are health systems responding to the problems of food security, nutrition and food sovereignty? What are their successes, failures and challenges to guarantee these rights and their implications for the health of populations?