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On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


BAUMGARTNER, Johann et al. Human health improvement in Sub-Saharan Africa through integrated management of arthropod transmitted diseases and natural resources. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2001, vol.17, suppl., pp.S37-S46. ISSN 1678-4464.

A concept of an ecosystem approach to human health improvement in Sub-Saharan Africa is presented here. Three factors mainly affect the physical condition of the human body: the abiotic environment, vector-transmitted diseases, and natural resources. Our concept relies on ecological principles embedded in a social context and identifies three sets of subsystems for study and management: human disease subsystems, natural resource subsystems, and decision-support subsystems. To control human diseases and to secure food from resource subsystems including livestock or crops, integrated preventive approaches are preferred over exclusively curative and sectorial approaches. Environmental sustainability - the basis for managing matter and water flows - contributes to a healthy human environment and constitutes the basis for social sustainability. For planning and implementation of the human health improvement scheme, participatory decision-support subsystems adapted to the local conditions need to be designed through institutional arrangements. The applicability of this scheme is demonstrated in urban and rural Ethiopia.

Keywords : Ecosystem; Natural Resources; Nutrition; Vector Control; Public Health.

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