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Experts mull over public health, environment at COEH conference

From November 28–30, 2023, at Maulana Azad Medical College, a three-day international conference on “Current challenges in Occupational and Environmental Health” was organised by the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH) in partnership with the Department of Community Medicine and the Department of Pulmonary Medicine.

Dr. Arthur Frank, the chief guest of the conference, is a professor of public health at the Dornsife School of Public Health as well as a professor of medicine and civil, architectural, and environmental engineering.

COEH seminar
COEH seminar

The honoured guest was Ms. Aji Fatoumatta Joof, the first secretary to the Gambia’s High Commissioner. The distinguished faculty members who have been working tirelessly for decades in the field of occupational health have also received the Dr Arthur Frank Lifetime Achievement Award.

COEH seminar

The conference had international experts on environmental health from Rutgers University, University of North Carolina-Chapel hill and University of Cincinnati. Speakers from various
national institutions of repute working on the field of occupational and environmental health like, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT Delhi,AIIMS Delhi, National Institute for Health and Family Welfare, PSRI, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Energy and Research Institute, Assam Downtown University, National
Institute of Occupational health, National Centre for Disease Control, and several NGOs like
Toxic Links, Mahila Housing Trust congregated under one roof emphasizing the relevance
and need of addressing the challenges related to occupational and environmental health in

This was a unique event where experts gathered to discuss the magnitude of rising
burden of environmental challenges, impending heath effects and strived together to explore workable solutions tailored for various geographical settings.

With an emphasis on the topic of “Addressing the challenges of occupational health,” the presenters covered a range of topics pertaining to air pollution and its numerous negative consequences on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It was emphasised how dangerous pollution may be, particularly particulate matter from vehicle exhausts, which can impair immunological responses, cause inflammation, and even impair cognitive function.

Concerns were also expressed regarding indoor air pollution, highlighting the fact that it discreetly endangers people’s health even in what appear to be secure dwellings. To ensure that India has a sustainable future, it was stressed how urgent it is to combat air and water pollution through community participation, research, policy initiatives, and group action.

The conference had resourceful panel discussions with several eminent experts talking about the issues of occupational health challenges in the unorganized sector and Bio medical waste management.

The increasing quantum of e-waste being generated and its effect on children in digital dump sites and the recycling communities in the developing nations was brought to notice. At the same time, attention was called towards the sources of Mercury generation, its impact on health, and also the audience was educated on ways of decontamination at source.

The presenters also covered a wide range of topics, including problems with child labour and difficulties in contemporary India. A discussion of the significance of establishing safe working environments, practical mitigation techniques, and health risks associated with the workplace came next.

Additionally emphasised were the vital function that industrial hygiene plays in guaranteeing workplace safety as well as the incorporation of contemporary technologies in occupational health and safety. The presentation covered new developments in office ergonomics aimed at increasing worker productivity.

This emphasises the urgent need to deal with stressful working situations in a proactive manner in order to promote healthier work environments that are advantageous to both employers and employees.