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close this bookTeaching Conservation in Developing Nations (Peace Corps)
close this folderChapter 3: Conservation education in a health center
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View the documentNutrition
View the documentSanitation
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View the documentSource material - Chapter 3


All living things, together with all non-living things, form our ecosystem. People are a part of the ecosystem; people are a natural resource; since conservation is concerned with the care of natural resources, people must take care of themselves as well as the rest of their environment. Health care is conservation too'

In many parts of the world the major problems of health are malnutrition and diseases carried by insects and parasites. These are environmental problems.

An environment in which there is improper or insufficient food is usually the result of poor agricultural production, poor soil, poor food storage methods, and lack of knowledge about nutrition. An environment which supports a disease-carrying insect cycle, such as the mosquito/malaria cycle, or the tsetse fly/sleeping sickness cycle, is a bad environment for people. An environment which supports the unchecked growth of bacteria is a bad one for people.

People can change the environment to improve the soil, agricultural production and nutrition, to break the cycle of disease carriers, or slow the growth and spread of bacteria, if they understand the problem and learn what steps to take.

A health center provides medical care for its community. It should also provide health education. Just as conservation education shows the relationship between all things in an environment, health education can show the relationship between health problems and the local environment.

To establish a health conservation education program in your community health center, you will need to identify those health problems which are most directly related to your own environment, and which are caused by such things as poor sanitation, erosion or crop destruction, or insect carriers. Choose one of these problems at a time, if your center is small, as a demonstration and education project.