Symposium ISEE 2022
INPHET organized a symposium session at ISEE 2022 in Athens in September 2022. Entitled ‘Is access to environmental public health monitoring and surveillance an equity and justice issue in low- and middle-income countries?’
A summary and recording is available here: https://isee2022.org/symposia/#SN50
International Network for Public Health and Environmental Tracking – Steering Committee
Fuyuen Yip, National Centre for Environmental Health, US National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
Helen Crabbe, Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards Directorate, UK Health Security Agency
Paolo Lauriola, International Society for Doctors of Environment, Italy. International Network For Public Health And Environmental Tracking – Steering Committee Member
Giovanni Leonardi, Health Security Agency, UK
Ariana Zeka, Brunel University London, UK- presented by Helen Crabbe, Health Security Agency, UK
Sumi Mehta, Vice President, Environmental Health, Vital Strategies, USA
Climate crisis, environmental change and societal transitions have complex impacts on population health. Many societies experiencing these transitions, particularly those in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) also have minimal capacities to monitor environmental and societal changes and their impacts on population health, and therefore to inform decision making and policy. Not having such resources can lead to inability to identify and respond to such risks to health in LMICs nationally, regionally, or internationally and to build the necessary surveillance and research infrastructure and access the funding required to strengthen such capacities. This contributes to widening the inequalities gap between countries and is therefore an environment and health equity and justice issue.
This symposium will invite a panel of experts in capacity building in LMICs to discuss and critically evaluate what are the policy/political system needs, evidence provision that inform political transitions, and the key elements needed to establish sustainable infrastructures that can provide the necessary evidence for sustainable health protection and prevention. Other question to be considered in the symposium: Building capacities and widening participation in environmental public health surveillance, research and policy translation in LMICs.
Relevance to ISEE 2022: Strengthening the global role of environmental epidemiology
Environment and health monitoring and information systems are a fundamental infrastructure for evidence provision for policy making. These support directly the purpose of environmental epidemiology in its role as the pillar science that provides the evidence for decision making and intervention aimed at reducing and preventing environmental related diseases. To fulfil its role, globally, environmental epidemiology must consider and address the vast inequalities that exist across countries and communities in their ability to monitor, assess, inform and mitigate environment and health issues. This symposium offers to highlight such challenges, and provide models of environment and health surveillance infrastructures that work side by side with environmental epidemiology.
1. O-SY-104 International Network for Public Health and Environmental Tracking (INPHET) and its role to Environmental Epidemiology. Paolo Lauriola, International Society for Doctors of Environment, Italy. International Network For Public Health And Environmental Tracking – Steering Committee Member
INPHET was formed by a community environmental public health researchers and practitioners, to address common interests and activities that advance environmental public health (EPH) surveillance and data systems, and their uses to inform public health actions. A “Community of Practice”, INPHET focuses on sharing experiences and expertise; addressing common challenges to implementation and enhancing the science of environmental health surveillance/tracking; and improving understanding of the link between the environment and health. It also provides the founding model for research infrastructure for EPH, in promoting accessibility and usability of environmental and health data for communities of public health researchers, practitioners and policy makers.
2. O-SY-100 Strengthening environmental health surveillance in low- and middle-income countries. Sumi Mehta, Vice President, Environmental Health, Vital Strategies
We will describe work to develop and implement actionable frameworks for measuring progress of actions to promote children’s environmental health. Active health sector engagement to ensure the use of local data to inform policies and implementation will be described to underscore the value of ensuring sustained investments in surveillance, rather than one-off studies, to direct limited health resources. Applied examples will include 1) integrating and enhancing routinely collected data to quantify the impact of clean air policies in Indonesia and 2) targeting surveillance efforts to identify populations most at risk for increased blood levels in India and the Philippines.
3. O-SY-101 Interventions to reduce lead (Pb) exposure and value of a broad environmental health monitoring capacity. Dr Giovanni Leonardi, Head, Environmental Epidemiology Unit, UK Health Security Agency.
In recent years, reports of lead (Pb) contamination have dramatically increased in Georgia. 41% of the children that participated in a national survey had blood Pb levels (BLL) above 5 microgram/dL. NCDC&PH implemented written and verbal advice on how to reduce Pb exposure, and a state program of clinical follow-up was implemented. A significant reduction of BLL in children over a relatively short time period has been documented. Monitoring is ongoing and will provide an opportunity to extend interventions. The general value of monitoring to promote interventions addressing environmental exposures will be discussed.
4. O-SY-103 Inequalities in the environmental public health funding in the European region. Ariana Zeka, Brunel University London, UK- presented by Helen Crabbe, Health Security Agency, UK
This talk is based on an analysis of the European Funding for Environment and Health. The analysis will highlight geographical, institutional and topic funding distributions. Within this context it will illustrate the persisting and changing inequalities in the provision of the necessary resources and support to strengthen the environment and health across communities, countries and topic areas. It will highlight equity, and draw attention to potential environment and health justice issues, when addressing most pressing environment and health challenges.
5. O-SY-102 The role of field epidemiology in strengthening public health capacity for chemical and environmental hazards in Ghana and Zambia. Giovanni Leonardi, UK Health Security Agency.
International Health Regulations include an expectation that each country would provide preparedness and response to chemical and environmental hazards. Field Epidemiology Training Programmes (FETP) are established in most countries globally and provide capacity to respond to infectious disease outbreaks and establish appropriate surveillance. Based on the experience of providing an environmental epidemiology module for FETP programmes in UK, Ghana and Zambia, the value of field epidemiology for addressing public health requirements for response and surveillance in environmental public health will be discussed.