Population, Health, and Environment

Welcome to the programmatic area on population, health, and environment (PHE) within MEASURE Evaluation’s Family Planning and Reproductive Health Indicators Database. This is one of the subareas found in the health service integration section of the database. All indicators for this area include a definition, data requirements, data source(s), purpose, issues and—if relevant—gender implications.

  • PHE projects acknowledge and address the complex connections between humans, their health, and their environment. With the underlying philosophy being fundamentally one of integration, the key objective of these projects is to simultaneously improve access to health services while also helping communities manage their natural resources in ways that improve their health and livelihoods and conserve the critical ecosystems they depend upon.
  • The key PHE indicators presented here do not focus specifically on any one area (population, health, or the environment), but rather address the integrated aspect of PHE programming and the effort to communicate and foster that integration.
  • Key indicators to monitor and evaluate PHE can be found in the links at left.

 

Full Text

Population, health and environment (PHE) projects acknowledge and address the complex connections between humans, their health, and their environment.  With the underlying philosophy being fundamentally one of integration, the key objective of these projects is to simultaneously improve access to health services while also helping communities manage their natural resources in ways that improve their health and livelihoods and conserve the critical ecosystems they depend upon. However, on the ground, PHE projects can look very different depending on the local interactions among population dynamics, human health problems, and the threats to local environmental conditions.

The PHE approach to development has been applied at all levels—from the community to the national level, involving field operations to policy reform—in many regions of the world. What is common among the different PHE projects and programs is recognition that human populations can be one of the major threats to the environment they inhabit, that human health is inextricably linked to the environment, and that it is more effective to work across the human health and environment sectors than to pursue their interventions in isolation. Conservation and natural resource management organizations also believe that they can build more rapport with local communities by facilitating the delivery of needed health services. Health organizations find they are better able to reach underserved communities in remote areas by partnering with environmental organizations that are already established in those communities.

By addressing basic health care problems in remote communities, who often have limited to no access to health services, PHE projects can also meet communities’ felt needs and improve their commitment to well-managed natural resources. When family planning information and services are widely available and accessible, couples are better able to achieve their desired family size. This not only directly impacts the well being of families, but also contributes to better management and conservation of natural resources and eases population pressures on local ecosystems. 

Because there is significant diversity in how PHE projects are implemented on the ground, project designers and managers have to be creative in how they decide to conceptualize the linkages in their project sites between humans, their health, and their environment; and how they decide to program to these conceptual linkages.

The key PHE indicators presented here speak to the USAID Global Health Initiative (GHI) principle of strategic coordination, integration, and partnerships to maximize benefits and increase impact by working across sectors.  They do not focus specifically on any one area (population, health, or the environment), but rather address the integrated aspect of PHE programming and the effort to communicate and foster that integration.

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References:

Heather D’Agnes, preface to “A Guide for Monitoring and Evaluating Population-Health-Environment Programs.” USAID and MEASURE Evaluation, 2007.

“Environmental Health at USAID”, accessed February 1, 2011, http://www.ehproject.org/phe/phe.html

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