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The role of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in the field of environmental health : An orientation

De rol van VWS op het terrein van medische milieukunde : Een oriëntatie

Synopsis

Many health benefits are still to be gained within the physical environment. These benefits can be realized if the Ministry of Health regularly acts as a catalyst in policy areas such as environmental and spatial design. Most of these health benefits can be obtained with an integrated approach that addresses the relationship between the various environmental and surrounding factors. At the request of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the RIVM has developed an orientation of the policy commitment the Ministry of Health could develop within the field of environmental health. This is explicitly an exploration, both in terms of the substantive impact of the physical environment on health, as in terms of policy choices that result from it. To establish a consideration of policy choices, an inventory was made of the health effects of themes in environmental health, both in the regular phase and in the "hot phase" (in times of an environmental crisis). As secondary criteria we also considered (social) events, and the role the Ministry of Health could play in these areas. Policy concerning environmental health is after all strongly related to tasks performed by other departments, such as the Ministries of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Interior, Economic Affairs and Social Affairs. The conclusion that many themes in environmental health are connected in a practical sense, means that the Ministry of Health - together with other stakeholders (departments, municipalities and municipal health services) - should focus on the interconnection of interests. In a practical sense and from a health perspective, this means an active contribution to achieving the ambitions of others. Given the complexity and ambiguity of the field of environmental health it is also important to ensure broader public support, resulting in risk governance.
 

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