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Development of Health-Relevant Indicators of Climate Change for Europe

Dalbokova, Dafina*; Krzyzanowski, Michal*; Menne, Bettina; Matthies, Franziska

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000362349.46336.e6
Abstracts: ISEE 21st Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, August 25–29, 2009: Oral Presentations

*World Health Organization European Centre for Environment and Health, Bonn, Germany; and †World Health Organization European Centre for Environment and Health, Rome, Italy.

Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the organizations of Epidemiology. Affliate Societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.


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Background and Objective:

WHO is implementing a project aimed at evaluating the impacts of policy options related to climate change from public health perspective. One objective is the development of tools for monitoring and assessment of environmental health (EH) issues related to climate change through the use of EH information system methods in particular indicators.

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The climate change related EH issues to be measured by indicators were identified through a critical review of the relevant scientific literature. A working group coordinated by WHO developed methodological proposals for indicators, including rationale and definitions, calculation methods, data sources, interpretation and policy relevance. After evaluation of the proposals, selected indicators underwent a feasibility study.

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The following climate change related EH issues were selected to ensure a balanced and comprehensive overview of common and widespread public health problems related to climate change in Europe: flooding; extreme temperatures; vector-borne diseases; water- and food-borne diseases; air quality; asthma, allergies and pollens. Policy actions, in particular adaptation measures, were added as a cross-cutting issue. The DPSEEA model was adapted to climate change and environmental health linkages. The indicators developed measure either population exposures, such as direct (flooding and temperature extremes) or indirect (through ecological factors and vectors) ones, or climate change-sensitive health outcomes. They use as much as possible existing information from observations, monitoring and surveillance, while identifying gap areas for further development.

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Based on the feasibility study and in consultation with the Member States, a set of policy-relevant indicators will be selected to extend the ENHIS system. Quality and sensitivity of existing surveillance, particularly of drinking water- and food-related outbreaks, need improvement. Further advances of GIS techniques are required, especially for population-relevant assessments.

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EC DG Sanco Grant 2007WHO03; WHO Working Group.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.