The past, present and future contributions of health geography

Authored by: Elijah Bisung , Jenna Dixon , Isaac Luginaah

Routledge Handbook of Health Geography

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138098046
eBook ISBN: 9781315104584
Adobe ISBN:


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We live in a world characterized by major disparities in terms of the conditions in which people live, grow and work. The daily realities for many of the world’s citizens stand in stark contrast to those in high-income countries. For instance, 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation facilities, one in nine people in the world are undernourished and 2.7 billion people struggle to live on less than two dollars per day (FAO/FAD/WFP, 2015; WHO/UNICEF, 2015). These same realities determine local and global patterns and disparities in health and well-being. Even within high-income countries where living conditions are much better, income inequalities are significant. They are believed to manifest in inequalities in health outcomes through erosion of social cohesion, disinvestment in social services, and disparities in other social determinants of health. In the face of these disparities, physical environmental conditions, particularly climate change and the associated severe environmental events, are posing new and reemerging health risks to societies. This is especially so for the vulnerable and those already living in impoverishment in the Global South. The question of how to tackle these issues (i.e., how to improve living conditions, reduce inequalities, and use the environment sustainably) has been the focus of development since the end of World War II.

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