Carole Hartmann

Environment and health go hand in hand

Our environment has a direct impact on our health in many ways. The Covid pandemic has clearly shown this. Therefore, the DP wants to strengthen the role of environmental medicine and the health policy.

In the future, we ought to not only focus on zoonoses – infectious diseases that are transmitted between humans and animals. Other factors play an important role in our health, too, even more than we might be aware of. Poor quality of air, water or soil, too much light or noise, pesticides and allergies can adversely affect our health and well-being. However, they are often not recognized as the root cause of our health problems.

This is where environmental medicine comes into play. It works as a type of causal medicine, which aims to investigate the root causes of health problems rather than just treating the symptoms. As such, it also takes into account genetics and our natural environment in the diagnosis. For patients to be able to benefit from environmental medicine, it is imperative that the nomenclature be adapted so that analyses and treatments – e.g. detoxifications – can be reimbursed by the national health insurance fund. We need to stop thinking that treating the symptoms with medication is sufficient. We need to learn to better understand the connections, to address the causes of the symptoms directly and to further the prevention work by making it more extensive.

Awareness-raising also plays an important role in this context, as many people do not really know environmental medicine. This applies to the general population as much as to the healthcare professionals. Doctors, nurses and midwives need to be sensitized and trained. Only once this has been achieved, can we benefit from the great potential of environmental medicine.

Carole Hartmann, Member of Parliament

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