'Clean India', BRICS in focus at World Congress on Public Health

Around 2,000 experts from over 60 countries would take part in the 14th World Congress on Public Health (WCPH) beginning here Wednesday that will showcase India's efforts, including the 'Clean India' drive, organisers said Monday.

Kolkata: Around 2,000 experts from over 60 countries would take part in the 14th World Congress on Public Health (WCPH) beginning here Wednesday that will showcase India's efforts, including the 'Clean India' drive, organisers said Monday.

The five-day event at the Science City auditorium here will also focus on emerging economies and their health concerns, with the participants making presentations on the Congress theme 'Healthy People-Healthy Environment'.

"The Congress will serve as a platform to showcase India's efforts and to share knowledge and experiences of public health professionals from all over the world towards making Indian government's 'Clean India' mission a grand success," Madhumita Dobe, organising secretary, 14th WCPH told the media.

The event is being jointly hosted by the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) and the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA). It is held every three years.

For the first time, BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - will be represented as a group in the global conference.

"Those are major emerging economies of the world and it is very important to have them as part of the discussion and solutions. So that is why we need to have them," said James Chauvin, WFPHA immediate past-president and co-chair of the conference.

"We want to see countries like India, Ethiopia and South Africa able to define what they see as the solutions and that they are not dictated by other countries," said Chauvin.

According to Mengistu Asnake, WFPHA president and co-chair of the WCPH Scientific Committee, one of the latest concerns is to link the growing economy to the needs of health in these countries.

"Earlier most of the problems were related to communicable diseases and with the growing economy there is change in the lifestyle status and non-communicable diseases (heart diseases, diabetes) are becoming more prevalent. The care given in these economies is not comparable to more developed countries," said Asnake.

This apart, themes of sustainable development, disease outbreaks (Ebola, Japanese Encephalitis and others), human rights and law, environmental impacts including climate change effects and urban issues like housing and transport will be brought under the scanner at the congress.

The congress will have plenaries, workshops, concurrent sessions, oral and poster presentations and different exhibitions on public health.

It will also host the International Student Meet on Public Health.

Chauvin said: "One of the big concerns that we will be addressing is access to primary healthcare in terms of vaccination, women's health services, children's health services and men's health services which are often overlooked."

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