Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Trinidad & Tobago.
The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) with support from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and WHO, convened a workshop on children's environmental health indicators in San José, Costa Rica from 8-10th September 2004. Through participatory discussions and group work, representatives from 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean agreed on standardized indicator concepts, and selected priority indicators for monitoring children's health and the environment. Based on the outcomes of this workshop, PAHO is circulating a revised list of children's environmental health indicators to all countries in the Pan-American region and is initiating their collection for a first report on children's health and the environment in Latin America and the Caribbean.
National Action Plans
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Sustainable Development and Environment Area (SDE) has developed a regional strategy on children’s environmental health (Healthy Environments: Healthy Children, October, 2002) and led country development of national children’s environmental health profiles, culminating in presentation by 18 countries of their national profiles at a meeting in Lima, Peru, in April 2003. At the Workshop, recommendations were made for next steps to the profiles, which are found in the “Regional Workshop: Environmental Threats to the Health of Children in the Americas, Workshop Report.” Included in the recommendations was a suggestion “to develop environmental health polices in the countries of the region that focus on the protection of children and adolescents.” To facilitate implementation of this recommendation, SDE has determined to work with selected countries to increase their capabilities in developing and refining policies to improve protections of children from environmental hazards.
SDE will work at both headquarters and country office levels, with appropriate national ministries, to review areas of priority, basically extending the national profiles into the development of national plans of action. Because countries across the region vary in many ways, each country needs to have its own national action plan, based on its status of children’s environmental health and calls to action based on that status.
The national pilots will look at priority environmental issues that impact the health of children in that country. They will develop appropriate measures for success and will be linked and included in the regional children’s environmental health indicators program, through the country children's environmental health indicators pilot projects. National planning will be an iterative process, allowing the countries to implement and amend the national plans as progress is made. Products such as the community level tool kits, research on health and trade, and actions regarding lead in gasoline will be shared with the pilot countries. SDE will share its progress and products with countries throughout the region and more broadly in the international arena to benefit countries around the world
A Global Initiative on Children's Environmental Health Indicators is well underway, first called for at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in September, 2002. The World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund and the United Nations Environment Programme have combined forces to lead this initiative. At the Lima workshop, countries of the Americas considered children's environmental health indicators and made recommendations for actions to develop a first look at indicators and support pilot projects. The Lima Workshop made a list of recommendations for next steps, including identifying participant countries, identifying existing information within those countries, assessing data quality, establishing leads with countries and building capacity in the area of indicators in the countries.
PAHO has therefore determined to take several actions, culminating in the release of a report reflecting some of the member countries regarding children’s environmental health indicators. Specific actions PAHO supported in 2004 included:
- Convene a meeting of representatives of countries throughout the region to agree upon a set of indicators on children’s environmental health to collect and report for the region.
- Develop pilot projects in the three countries to assist with indicators collection.
- Publish a first look of children’s environmental health indicators for the region.
CEHI project on the United States - Mexico Border (US/M-B)
The CEHI project on the United States - Mexico border (US/M-B) was initiated in early 2006. The indicators on which information is being collected were selected based on the frequency with which they appeared as priority indicators in the PAHO indicators workshops held on the US/M-B, their usefulness and relevance for the US/M-B as a whole, as well as the CEHI initiative worldwide to give a broad view of the Children’s Environmental Health situation on the US/M-B. The indicators selected were:
- Mortality rate for under 5-year olds;
- Morbidity rate from respiratory disease in children under 5 years of age;
- Percentage of children living in areas served by public water systems that exceeded a drinking water standard.
The process of data gathering is not yet complete for all three indicators. Some of the indicators are difficult to gather information on, due to differences in recording procedures and definitions between the two countries.