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April 2002 Issue
The Geographical Review
April 2002, Vol. 92 (2), pp. 257-281
Environmental Health Risks and Gender in the Karakoram-Himalaya, Northern Pakistan
Sarah J. Halvorson
Keywords: environmental health
risk, Karakoram-Himalaya, mountain development, women.
Many mountain peoples face water and environmental health problems. At particular risk is the health of women and of children who live in remote and marginalized mountain areas. Environmental health concerns are often associated with the waterborne parasitic and endemic diseases responsible for much child morbidity and mortality in the Karakoram-Himalaya of northern Pakistan. Poor environmental health and water-quality conditions affect child survival, and challenges to viable local interventions are severe. Transformations in women's productive and reproductive work have health consequences for children, and gender and household dynamics shape and mediate women's responses to environmental health risks. Significantly, these findings draw attention to the need for improved water and health policy, especially policy that recognizes different gender and childhood roles in mountainous regions of the developing world.