PEEM Guidelines 2
Guidelines for forecasting the vector-borne disease implications of water resources development
Water resource development projects lead to either an increase in the number of vectors or the amount of contact between human communities and vectors. The consequence is an increased number of disease cases. Well known examples include the Aswan, Kariba and Volta Lake dams which were constructed to provide economic benefits such as irrigation or hydroelectric power, but which also bestowed additional disease burdens on the local community.
Two requirements must be fulfilled if such an increase is to be prevented:
- A strong and binding commitment to finance and implement projects which maintain public health and safety, to care for the environment and to consult with and provide adequate resettlement for displaced communities.
- A rapid, simple and cheap procedure for determining whether, and how, the first requirement can be fulfilled.
These guidelines seek to provide a basis for such rapid assessment and to make it available to those without specialist knowledge of health. Water resource development projects are usually planned by economists, agricultural specialists and engineers, debated by politicians and contended by community groups. All of these may wish to consider the potential health impacts of the project and for this purpose seek the collaboration of a local health specialist. The guidelines can only be used to their full potential if links are established, from the very start, with the various departments and government ministries which are concerned with health.