“Environmental health addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related factors impacting behaviours. It encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health. It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environment.” The definition given by the World Health Organization (WHO), during the 2nd European Conference on Environment and Health, in Helsinki in 1994, reflects the prime importance of environmental hygiene in public health. The role of environmental health is evident as much in the natural environment as in man-made environment, and its fundamental facets are:
The Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (HCDCP) is an organization that advocates public health and thus it established the Office for Environmental Health in June 2011. Initially, a communication network was launched among health administrations within the districts and prefectures of Greece, aiming to prevent and deal on time with any environmental hazards that may occur. Specifically, the Office contributed technical assistance to the Inspectorate of Health and Welfare (SEYYP) in Northern Greece in order to control, investigate and present their findings on the reasonable management and disposal of medical waste in hospitals, in the presence of a prefectural representative. In co-operation with the infection control nurses in charge of the management of hospital waste, advisory services are provided to ensure their reasonable management. The Office of Environmental Health had an active role in Central Macedonia overseeing the West Nile Virus control programme in the summer of 2010 and is willing to participate again this year. Having already created an environmental legislation file regarding waste management (municipal, industrial and medical), at regular intervals, we offer advisory services to public and private organizations in the field of health. Moreover, the Office for Environmental Health is obligated to answer punctually and appropriately to any appeals submitted by parliament that are relevant to its purview.
In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that the Office has future goals, to solve more environmental health issues such as: