Oman & Tunisia (Completion by mid-2005)
Pakistan, Yemen, Jordan, & Iran
The application of children's environmental health indicators (CEHI) in EMRO has been coordinated by WHO/EMRO Centre for Environment and Health Activities (CEHA). Application of CEHI has been conducted in Oman and Tunisia, and assessments in Yemen and Pakistan are underway. Initial results were presented by Oman and Tunisia at the Expert Consultation on the Health and Environment Linkages Initiative (HELI) and the Children's Environmental Health Indicators (CEHI) in Amman, Jordan (28-31st March 2005) and Final National Reports on the State of Children Environmental Health were completed in 2005.
CEHI’s approach in EMRO pilot application was designed to:
- Assess the availability, accuracy and reliability of information on children’s environmental health
- Prioritize environmental health risk factors affecting children within the home environment and its immediate surroundings
- Refine the indicators in view of regional conditions and the promotion of their use as a tool for decision-making and contribute to the building of national and regional capacities in monitoring the status of children's environmental health
CEHI's approach within the EMRO pilot involved:
- Producing a preliminary report on children environmental health indicators using existing sources of information to provide a qualitative and numerical account on children environmental health in the countries;
- Conducting population-based surveys to assess children exposure to environmental risk factors and the corresponding health outcomes. The population-based assessment tool (i.e. household survey) developed by the WHO/EMRO Centre for Environment and Health Activities (CEHA) and used in Tunisia and Oman consists of three modules: i) Roster of People and Health; ii) Housing Quality Module examining shelter and housing quality; indoor air quality; outdoor air quality; physical safety; and chemical safety; iii) Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Module examining household water security (quantity and quality); sanitation; personal and food hygiene;
- Generating a national report on the state of children’s environmental health.
Healthy environments for children initiative at CEHA
Regional activities relevant to healthy environments for children (HEC) were regrouped and consolidated following the establishment of the Task Force on EMRO Initiative on Healthy Environments for Children by RD in October 2002 and the convening of the Informal Consultation on Healthy Environments for Children in November 2002. The consultation identified regional priority environmental risk factors and outlined broad directions for action.
Building partnerships and creating popular movements for children
Jordan national conference on healthy environments for children was convened under the Patronage of HM the Queen (8-9 July 2003) with the participation of over 200 scientists, senior officials and members from the civic society. The national network on healthy environments for children was launched at the conference. Saudi Arabia national seminar on healthy environments for children was convened on the occasion of the World Health Day 2003 and drew support from the government, the private sector and the civic society and resulted in establishment of the Ministry of Health Initiative on healthy environments for children. Remarkable celebrations marked the occasion of the World Health Day - dedicated to healthy environments for children - in Tunisia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Iran and other countries.
Gathering and dissemination of information on healthy environments for children
CEHA started the gathering and dissemination of information on healthy environments for children within EMR countries in 2003. The Healthy Environment for Children database and information clearinghouse has been initiated to:
- Collect, classify and make accessible information on work underway or completed within EMR countries (surveys, research, studies, projects).
- Review accessible data sets and research information and build-up a database for further analysis. Published research data is being collected and analyzed and incorporated into a numerical database.
- Make available to users in EMR countries literature and information on HEC.
- Collect public awareness and educational material and compile them into a catalogue for further dissemination.
- Develop a web based information clearinghouse on HEC to provide access to gathered information and material.
Progress made so far includes:
- A bibliographic database of published literature and studies conducted within EMR countries.
- An overview of literature on childhood lead exposure in EMR countries with a database developed for further processing and dissemination.
- An overview of literature on childhood unintentional injuries in EMR countries with a database developed for further processing and dissemination.
Monitoring indicators on healthy environments for children and assessment of environmental health risk factors affecting children
CEHA started to monitor indicators on healthy environments for children and assessment of environmental health risk factors affecting children in EMR countries in order to identify and rank the priority environmental health risk factors for intervention. Pilot application of the Global Initiative on Children Environmental Health Indicators has started in Tunisia and Oman with support from WHO/HQs and in Iran with EMRO regular resources. The pilot project activities involve the following:
- Preparation of preliminary country report on the status of children's environmental health using the CEH indicators framework.
- Conducting the population-based assessment of the environmental health factors affecting children using pre-designed survey tools.
- Updating the preliminary report using the data generated from the assessment.
Assessment and survey tools have been developed and adapted for application in both Oman and Tunisia in 2004. An assessment of environmental health risk factors affecting children’s health within their homes and immediate surrounding environments using population based studies will be conducted in Yemen and Pakistan with AGFUND support. Additional funding for a nation-wide study of environmental risk factors affecting children in Jordan has been secured from the Government of Norway. These studies will generate information for scientific research and evidence for action and influencing policy interventions.
Establishing healthy settings for children
Demonstration projects are being implemented to establish healthy settings for children in Yemen and Pakistan with the support of AGFUND and including such activities as:
- Advocacy campaigns.
- Education and awareness programmes.
- Working with communities.
- Working with decision makers and planners.
In Lebanon, a demonstration project is being developed in one of Beirut’s neighborhood to promote the creation of healthy and safe school physical environments for children through a contest and certification process with participation of 64 schools. The process is designed to encourage partnership amongst the municipal council, the schools’ administration, the teacher-parents associations, and the civic society NGOs. A similar project is planned in Yemen to create healthy school environments for children.