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The ecosystem approach to health is a promising strategy in international development: lessons from Japan and Laos


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Title: The ecosystem approach to health is a promising strategy in international development: lessons from Japan and Laos
Authors: Asakura, Takashi / Mallee, Hein / Tomokawa, Sachi / Moji, Kazuhiko / Kobayashi, Jun
Issue Date: 16-Feb-2015
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: Globalization and Health, 11, 3; 2015
Abstract: Background: An ecological perspective was prominently present in the health promotion movement in the 1980s, but this seems to have faded. The burden of disease the developing world is facing cannot be addressed solely by reductionist approaches. Holistic approaches are called for that recognize the fundamentally interdependent nature of health and other societal, developmental, and ecosystem related factors in human communities. An ecosystem approach to human health (ecohealth) provides a good starting point to explore these interdependencies. Discussion: Development assistance is often based on the assumption that developed countries can serve as models for developing ones. Japan has provided lavish assistance to Laos for example, much of it going to the development of transport networks. However, there is little sign that there is an awareness of the potentially negative environmental and health impacts of this assistance. We argue that the health consequences of environmental degradation are not always understood, and that developing countries need to consider these issues. The ecohealth approach is useful when exploring this issue. Summary: This article presents a brief case study of Japan's development assistance to Laos, and its environmental and health implications, as an illustration of the ecohealth approach. We highlight three implications of the ecohealth perspective.
Keywords: Developing countries / Development and health / Ecohealth / Ecohealth education / Ecosystem approach / Ecosystem degradation / Health consequences / Japan / Laos
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10069/35276
DOI: 10.1186/s12992-015-0093-0
Rights: © 2015 Asakura et al.; licensee BioMed Central. / This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Type: Journal Article
Text Version: publisher
Appears in Collections:Articles in academic journal

Citable URI : http://hdl.handle.net/10069/35276

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