ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Health is poised to establish an Environmental Health Protection Unit (EHPU) that could serve as health sector frontline body to ensure protection and prevention of diseases attributable to environmental risk factors. At present ministry has requested World Health Organisation to provide assistance for the development of a roadmap for EHPU. A team constituted by ministry has already consulted the concerned partners including World Health Organisation, Health Service s Academy, Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources, National Institute of Health and Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency. The already existed Environmental Health Unit of HSA has limited capacity due to which it cannot properly function. It is being expected that the newly proposed unit would be a kind of extension of this existing EHU of Health Services Academy that was established in 1997, said a Health Ministry official seeking anonymity. While highlighting the role of the proposed EHPU he said, it will deliver its mission by perfuming a number of functions including, setting national standard and legislation on environmental risk factors ensuring that health protection concerns are addressed. The unit would monitor environmental health factors to generate evidences for corrections action and linkages to public health, he continued. Environment and health goes hands and hands and EHPU would provide a window to go through number of issue that falls in jurisdiction of both ministries said an Environment Ministry official while talking to TheNation. He said according to the Pakistan Strategic Country Environmental Assessment 2006, up to 35 per-cent burden of disease in Pakistan can be attributed to environmental risk factors. The most important of those are water supply and poor sanitation, which account for more then 1.6 million Disability Adjusted Life Years due to diarrhoea and 900,000 Disability Adjusted Life Years due typhoid. Other priority risk environmental factors that contribute to the burden of disease include indoor and outdoor air pollution, exposure to lead, chemical and pesticides and unsafe food. There a numerous agencies outside the health sector that are mandated to mange the environmental risk factors. Yet there is limited awareness of the health linkages and often investment by these sectors does not take consideration of the health protection requirements. And there is a need for a greater engagement of health sector n motivating action by other sectors for health protection.