08 November 2018
By Anastasia Voronkova, University of Exeter

The role of a healthy ecosystem on human health is well established, less well established is the role healthy humans play on ecosystems. Population Health and Environment (PHE) initiatives aim to improve people’s health outcomes and access to primary healthcare services as a means of conserving the earth’s ecosystem. Working with Indonesia-based NGO Yayasan Planet Indonesia (YPI), researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School, European Centre for Environment and Human Health will examine whether community led health-based interventions can improve human health, and the overall health of the coastal ecosystem.

Aiming to conserve at-risk ecosystems through village-led partnerships, YPI have identified three overarching health concerns for coastal communities in Pontianak: insufficient amount of clean water, nutrition imbalance and lack of accessible family planning measures have been identified.

Working with Blue Health partners Blue Ventures, world leaders in PHE interventions through their work in Madagascar on family planning, YPI aim to implement one of these three interventions. Based at the ECEHH, PhD candidate Anastasia Voronkova will be working with YPI and the coastal community to evaluate the impact of the chosen intervention in the short term and begin to develop a framework for understanding the role of human health in ecosystem conservation. 

This project will allow to establish connections between the area’s conservation and physical well-being practitioners working together towards the main goal: a healthy ecosystem with healthy humans living in it. It will engage local stakeholders in an inclusive and effective way and let them shape the future of their community. Finally, such a holistic approach will ultimately link science, practice and research in real time, which will deliver systematic results that can be of value and use to everybody involved.   
Project 6: Well-being benefits and risks of coastal living
Project lead: Dr Karyn Morrissey (University of Exeter), Dr Mathew White (University of Exeter), Dr Vik Mohan (Blue Ventures)
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