Environment plays a central role in the health status of a population because it comprises determinants of health that interacts in a complex manner. Owing to the complex interactions of the determinants of health, environmental assessment is necessary to establish major determinants of health that have significant influence on the health of a population (Pearson, Stevens, Sanogo, & Bearman, 2012). To understand the health status of a certain population or community, environmental health assessment is necessary. Therefore, this essay conducts environmental assessment of the population of Honduras with a view of elucidating the influence of education, poverty, water and sanitation, pollution, and diseases on human health.
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Education is one of the determinants of health, which are common in the developing countries like Honduras. There is a positive relationship between education and health status. According to United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (2014), 6.1% of youth and 16.4% of adults are illiterate, while the enrollment rate of the children in pre-primary school is 44%. These statistics indicate that the level of education in Honduras is quite low when compared to the developed nations where literacy levels and enrollment rates are high. Hence, Honduras should improve the health status of its citizens by investing in education to improve their literacy levels.
Poverty is another significant determinant of health in developing countries such as Honduras. Poverty has a negative association with health status because poor people are unable access and afford quality healthcare services. According to Pearson et al. (2012), about 2.4 million people in Honduras are unable to access healthcare services owing to their socioeconomic purposes. The majority of the people, who are poor, reside in the rural areas. While 58.8% of the population lives below poverty level, 36.4% of the population is extremely poor (World Health Organization, 2013). Hence, it means that poverty is a major factor that contributes to the low health status among the populations of Honduras.
In the physical environment, water and sanitation influence health conditions of the population of Honduras. According to Water (2014), 1 million people do not access clean water, while 2.6 million people do not have sanitation services. These statistics imply that 3.6 million people in Honduras are prone to waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. These are the infectious diseases that occur due to contamination of water and poor sanitation in the disposal of human waste in sewages.
In Honduras, the population grapples with the non-communicable and communicable diseases. Non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, perinatal conditions, mental disorders, and diabetes are common in Honduras. Communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and zoonotic diseases affect the population of Honduras. According to the Centers for Disease Control, (2010), perinatal conditions, diabetes, pneumonia, and HIV/AIDS cause 16%, 6.7%, 3.8%, and 2.5% of deaths respectively in the health care system of Honduras. Therefore, in Honduras, perinatal conditions and diabetes are the major non-communicable diseases, while pneumonia is the major communicable disease.
Both indoor and outdoor pollutions cause respiratory diseases among the populations in Honduras. In an urban environment where there are industrial activities, particulate matter and carbon monoxide are major air pollutants that cause respiratory diseases. Clark (2009) states that indoor air pollution due to cooking stoves release carbon dioxide and particulate matter, which cause respiratory diseases among women. Thus, indoor pollution affects mainly women because they use stoves in cooking.
Centers for Disease Control (2012). CDC in Honduras. Web.
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Clark, L. (2009). Impact of improved cook stoves on indoor air pollution and adverse health effects among Honduran women. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 19(5), 357-368).
Pearson, C., Stevens, M., Sanogo, K., & Bearman, G. (2012). Access and barriers to healthcare vary among three neighboring communities in Northern Honduras. International Journal of Family Medicine, 2(3), 1-6.
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (2014). Education (All Levels) Profile: Honduras. Web.
World Health Organization (2013). Honduras: Country cooperation strategy at a glance. Web.
Water: Honduras. (2014). Web.