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Tribute to Yves Chartier
Garance Upham, Peoples Health Movement, France kindly posts this editorial paying tribute to the late Yves Chartier for his work in public health.
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Editorial of the International Journal of People’s Health to pay tribute to Yves Chartier.
The vision and the work of those who can see from the individual to the
collective needs of society is most critical. Rare is that person, and in
our common struggle, the loss of one such individual is missed by the
collective movement for global health. Pr Anthony So.
Yves Chartier was of that long tradition of French public health, which
embraced an ecological approach to people’s health: Drinking water –
sanitation – hygiene – waste management – Injection safety – natural
ventilation – the prevention of nosocomial infection, were the major themes
of his work at the World Health Organization.
The protection of people in a disease carrying environment, patient safety
in health systems, are at the heart of the pastorian enterprise of Yves
Chartier which we humbly wish to honor by this publication. Yves died in a
mountain accident last January 8.
Devoid of any spirit of competition, neither within the World Health
Organization, nor in the world, he had no ambition other than to trace the
shortest path for a better protection of people against disease.
The lack of clean drinking water is the leading cause of potentially fatal
diarrhea in young children and in the immuno-compromised?
Yves writes how to integrate clean water and sanitation for schools
planning in poor communities.
He works with USAID on the elaboration of programs to integrate WASH
(WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene) in AIDS programs, Merri Weinger says he was
“the best of the best” (p 9-11).
“Water quality, especially the lack of harmful bacteria, viruses and
parasites, is known to be very important in preventing infection in people
with full immune systems. A great irony exists in advanced giving, costly
life-saving ART to PLHIV with a glass of water that could infect them with
a life – threatening illness.”
Yves strives for appropriate technical assistance in water emergencies,
with Doctors without Borders and other partners.
* Billions of dirty injections in health care annually and poor waste
management, transmit bloodborne pathogens, such as bloodborne viruses:
hepatitis and HIV.
* Yves spent constant energy in WHO’s SIGN (Safe Injection Global Network)
and with country partners to protect patients and caregivers, as in Namibia
where Dr. Azizi Abdullah drastically improved the situation with Yves’
input (p14-15). Today, in a region of Mali, Dr M. C. Kone finds 85% of
health workers unaware of HIV, hepatitis risks (p16).
The control and prevention of nosocomial infections cannot be held a luxury
in health systems, but rather a pillar, as Dr. Georges Ducel reminds us
reviewing the works of Yves (p12). For too long basic hygiene has been
neglected and magic bullet antibiotics over-used in prophylaxis,
participating in increase of resistance to drugs by bacteria and
endangering patients in the process.
Today, facing the rising phenomena of resistance as described in the just
published WHO document, when pipelines are ‘dry’, it is important to react,
as Dr Jean Carlet (president of the NGO ACdeBMR) tell us, by placing
emphasis on a more responsible and regulatory attitude on the part of all
sectors of society, without forgetting prevention through proper and
specific waste treatment and water management (p7-8), because we have to
delay the arrival of a ‘world without antibiotics’ and give time for new
thinking in approaching fundamental research, as Anthony So (Duke
University, one of the reputed expert on BMR (p5), and John-Arne Røttingen
(president of the CEWG, the Working Group on financing for R&D (p6) speak
of about the issue.
Negligence in prevention of airborne transmission represents a great
opportunity for tuberculosis to spread. Without great expenditures,
understanding the techniques of ‘natural ventilation’ developed by Yves,
provides effective protection for patient and caregiver alike. Pr Babacar
N’Doye (head of HAI prevention group- Pronalin) uses this technical work in
The entirety of the work of Yves Chartier defines what our priorities ought
to be: development of drinking water systems in all countries, large
investments in waste management, and functional systems of sewage in major
cities of emerging countries, taking the likelihood of weather storms and
water flooding into account.
At the World Water Forum in Marseilles, France, governments of the world
issued resolutions. Yet public health priorities tend to focus on
‘deliverables’ and monitoring, and horizontal public approaches for
universal access to drinking water, proper waste management, sewage, remain
low on the list of world health priorities, notwithstanding Resolution
WHA64.14 on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Health.
Understanding and applying the contributions and recommendations from Yves
Chartier is our way of paying him everlasting tribute. His great
achievements are all essentials to face the challenges of today and
On the covers: water, nature, mountains and the shadow of Yves’ bike :
always looking to new heights. Yves, for those of us who have known you,
you will always be present. And through your work, you will remain one of
the best in public health ‘à la française’, work to be continued for the
health of all the people!
Chief Editor: Garance Upham
Contact publication: email@example.com
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