Learning resources

Prioritizing children's environmental health begins with education and awareness
Grade R-3 learners (Simphiwe Mkhize,Ngcobo Sbongakonke,Dlamini Asiphile ) posing for a photo whilst doing the UNICEF-managed REALS SA (The Reading and Leadership Strengthening in South African Schools for Learning) reading programme which is in aid to support the DBE (Department of Basic Education) in managing the impact of COVID-19 in Tholisu Primary, Umlazi township in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. 05 Dec 2022. UNICEF. S.Moultrie (Slingshot Media)

E-course: Introduction to Children's Environmental Health

This interactive course has been developed from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) training package on children's environmental health for the health sector. It is a comprehensive set of internationally harmonized and peer-reviewed materials on the most relevant and pressing issues on children's environmental health. Participants will increase their capacity to recognize, prevent, diagnose and manage children’s conditions related to an array of environmental threats.

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The online course contains an overview module plus 10 thematic modules that should be taken sequentially to maximize learning. Each module is broken down into several lessons and will take about 2-3 hours to complete. This is a self-paced course with no time limit. 

Components of modules include: 

  • Learning objectives and outcomes 
  • Up-to-date global data, maps and graphics 
  • Videos that illustrate the importance of healthy environments for children 
  • Interactive learning features, including opportunities to explore country-specific children’s environmental health data 
  • Examples that highlight ways to reduce children’s environmental exposures 
  • Take-home messages 
  • Practical guidance, tools and downloadable resources for health workers 
  • Full set of references 
  • Quizzes to assess knowledge 
  • Accessible content with complete instructions for keyboard navigation 

Learners who wish to earn a digital certificate of completion from UNICEF and WHO are required to score 80 per cent or higher on all quizzes and complete the end-of-course survey.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will be able to: 

  • Describe the influences of environmental factors on children’s health, development and well-being 
  • Evaluate children’s unique vulnerability to environmental hazards 
  • Recognize signs, symptoms and diseases linked to existing and emerging environmental risk factors 
  • Take a paediatric environmental history Identify and access information on paediatric environmental threats 
  • Discuss the environmental risks proficiently with patients, families, policy-makers, educators and the community, providing understandable, concise information about potential threats and risk-reduction strategies


This course is an introduction to the principles and interventions needed to protect children’s health from environmental hazards, including air pollution, chemicals, heavy metals, inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene and climate change. This course is composed of these modules:

In this module, you will learn how to navigate the rest the of e-course.

In this module, you will learn about the magnitude of environmental exposures to child health and development and some of the actions that health workers can take to reduce and prevent these.

In this module, you will learn about the relationship between chemicals and children's health.

In this module, you will learn about different sources and routes of lead poisoning for children and how to diagnose and treat lead exposure.

In this module, you will learn about ambient and household air pollution and its short and long-term health impacts on children and pregnant women.

In this module, you will learn of the causes of climate change, the effects of climate change on children's health and strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation.

In this module, you will learn the global magnitude of mercury pollution and the effects of mercury exposure on children’s health and development, as well as possible interventions.

In this module, you will learn about prevention, diagnosis and management of acute and chronic pesticide exposures in children.

In this module, you will learn about the need to protect the global water supply, and ensure universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as a critical part of children's environmental health.

In this module, you will be introduced to the concept of conducting a paediatric environmental history assessment, providing examples of how it can be used to uncover information that can support diagnosis of conditions related to environmental exposures. 

WHO training package for the health sector

Children's health and the environment

The WHO training package for the health sector, which the e-course is based on, is also available to download in PowerPoint format below.

online courses

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