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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 97, Issue 6, pp I8–I14 | Cite as

Canada’s International Development Research Centre’s Eco-Health Projects with Latin Americans

Origins, Development and Challenges
  • Donald C. Cole
  • Charles C. Crissman
  • Fadya T. Orozco
Article
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Background

Since its founding in 1970, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has supported research by concerned Latin American researchers on environments and human health relationships. Framing of such relationships has changed through different periods.

Methods

Participant observation, bibliographic searches, document review, and interviews with key IDRC staff.

Findings

From the early years of multiple different projects, IDRC developed more focussed interest in tropical diseases, pesticides, agriculture and human health in the 1980s. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in the early 1990s gave impetus to examination of links between ecosystems and human health or “EcoHealth”. Projects in Latin America built on earlier work but extended it in methods (transdisciplinarity, community participation, gendered approach) and scope (broader land use and development paradigm issues tackled). A key IDRC-funded activity in Latin America was “EcoSalud”, an Ecuadorian effort, which has worked with farming communities, agricultural researchers, health practitioners and local politicians to advance integrated pest management, better recognize and treat poisonings and improve pesticide-related policies.

Ongoing challenges include

mobilizing sufficient resources for the primary prevention focus of EcoHealth activities when primary care infrastructure remains stretched, promoting micro-level change in diverse communities and ecosystems, and addressing power structures at the global level that profoundly affect environmental change.

MeSHterms

Environmental health developing countries agriculture pesticides Latin America 

Résumé

Contexte

Depuis sa fondation au Canada en 1970, le Centre de recherches pour le développement international (CRDI) appuie les travaux de chercheurs latino-américains préoccupés par les liens entre l’environnement et la santé humaine. Les points de vue selon lesquels on envisage ces liens ont changé au fil du temps.

Méthode

Observation de participants, recherches bibliographiques, examen de documents et entretiens avec des responsables au CRDI.

Constatations

Au début, le CRDI finançait toutes sortes de projets, mais au cours des années 1980, il a concentré son action sur les maladies tropicales, les pesticides, l’agriculture et la santé humaine. La Conférence des Nations Unies sur l’environnement et le développement (CNUCED), au début des années 1990, a incité le Centre à examiner les liens entre les écosystèmes et la santé humaine («l’écosanté»). Dès lors, les projets menés en Amérique latine se sont appuyés sur des travaux antérieurs, mais en élargissant leurs méthodes (par la transdisciplinarité, la participation communautaire, l’approche sexospécifique) et leur portée (en abordant aussi les grands enjeux de l’affectation des sols et du développement). L’une des principales activités financées par le CRDI en Amérique latine était «EcoSalud», en Équateur, un projet de collaboration avec les collectivités agricoles, les agronomes, les professionnels de la santé et la classe politique locale visant à promouvoir la lutte antiparasitaire intégrée, à mieux reconnaître et traiter les empoisonnements et à améliorer les politiques d’usage des pesticides.

Défis qu’il reste à relever

Mobiliser des ressources suffisantes pour mener le volet de prévention primaire des activités d’écosanté alors que les infrastructures de soins primaires sont étirées au maximum, promouvoir des changements micro-niveau au sein de collectivités et d’écosystèmes très différents, et remettre en question, à l’échelle mondiale, les structures du pouvoir qui ont des conséquences profondes sur les modifications de l’environnement.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald C. Cole
    • 1
    • 2
  • Charles C. Crissman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fadya T. Orozco
    • 1
  1. 1.International Potato CentreLima, Peru & Quito, EcuadorCanada
  2. 2.Department of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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