Environmental health focuses on the exposure of populations to external factors (biological, chemical, physical) that can have effects, both negative and positive, on their physical and mental health, and their general well-being. These exposures interact with the other determinants of health (behavioral, social, psychological, cultural, economic and political). They can reinforce inequalities and vulnerabilities and particularly impact people who experience discrimination and struggle to have access to shelter and healthcare. When environmental health risks are distributed disproportionately among social groups, to the detriment of the most vulnerable groups, we speak of inequalities in environmental health.
Our approach to environmental health focuses on health promotion and community mobilization. We work with local authorities and vulnerable populations living and working in harmful environments to improve hygiene conditions and lessen the environmental impact on their health. The populations targeted by Doctors of the World’s actions are those traditionally supported by our organization: the victims of poverty, stigmatization or discrimination.