The international conference on "Impact of environment on women's health" comprised of three exciting days of scientific deliberations covering over-views, most recent research findings and technologies being used to study the impact of environmental pollutants on human health with particular reference to women. Dr. Linda Birnbaum’s, Director of NIEHS, delivered the keynote address in the conference which was inaugurated by Ms. Anupriya Patel, Hon'ble Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare. Dr. Anita Bhatnagar Jain, Addl. Chief Secretary & DG (Training) UP Govt. was the Guest of Honour at the valedictory session.The participants were from academia research institutions, government including legal experts from five countries including India.
To summarize, highlights of the deliberations and possible follow up of the conference are as follows:
- The available studies though limited, do show that climate can severely impact the health and there are gender specific issues and should be studied.
- There is global evidence that environmental chemicals have link with endocrine disruption and cancer particularly the breast and uterine cancers. Genetic and physiological factors such as malnourishment and age can significantly modify the outcome following exposure to pollutant.
- The interaction of environmental chemicals, nutrition & diet and disease need to be further studied along with the factors like genetic predisposition, age and sex. Strategies can be devised to reduce exposure of susceptible population to environmental exposure by rotating the work force in the industrial set up.
- Environmental pollution is preventable and prevention can save several lives and money spent on treatment. To achieve this women can play an important role. To empower women, large-scale public awareness, and education is needed which would help in prevention of morbidity.
- Regulatory bodies can take stringent measures to prevent air pollution and the support from government bodies in implementing the regulations shall help in fulfilling this task.
- As the impact of environmental pollution on women’s health is a subject of global concern there is a need to share expertise and undertake collaborative studies to understand the above factors. Existing bilateral mechanisms could be utilized for funding. New focused international region specific programs can also be developed for collaborative studies and funding.
- There is an urgent need to set up a Center of Women's Environmental Health, in India.
As an outcome of conference two centers were announced:
Center for Environmental Impact on Women’s Health:
The Center for Environmental Impact on Women’s Health, may jointly work with other research centers, among them NIEHS, Medical School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Collaborative Clean Air Policy Center and University of Louisiana Lafayette. (They have expressed their willingness to collaborate).
- The center would help in propagating awareness, promote education and develop preventive strategies. It can also conduct training programs for environmental awareness where the faculty can comprise of scientists and experts from academia and NGOsplus produce tailor-made courses for civil servants and industry.
- The center will disseminate information in schools to sensitize female students regarding hygiene and health.
- Special attention will be given to rural population where awareness camps can be organized.
Center for Bioinformatics and Systems Biology:
The main objective of the center is to prepare an interdisciplinary research environment to facilitate interactions among various research groups both within and outside Amity University.
- Establishment of core research groups to provide customized solutions for industries and research institutions.
- Development of problem-oriented novel algorithms, tools, databases and analysis pipelines.
- Development of trained manpower in Bioinformatics, Systems Biology and Systems medicine.
This International Conference was just a beginning to achieve a larger goal, to motivate people for reducing air pollution by changing traditional cooking habits and also sensitize them towards health issues of women. A concerted effort at all levels is needed to safeguard health of future generations and women who represent 50% of our population.