Decision-Making in Environmental Health: From Evidence to Action

By C. Corvalán; D. Briggs et al. | Go to book overview
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Chapter 8*
APPLICATION OF HEADLAMP IN THE FIELD

8.1Introduction
In 1995, six HEADLAMP field studies were conducted in selected developing country cities: Calcutta (India), Cape Town (South Africa), Cotonou (Benin), Managua (Nicaragua), Manila (the Philippines) and Talcahuano (Chile). These cities were chosen as a wide representation from developing countries in different world regions. Of most interest were cities in countries experiencing a combination of traditional and modern environmental health risks. As societies develop, modern hazards such as air and chemical water contamination and solid hazardous waste accumulation tend to increase, while traditional hazards such as lack of safe drinking water and basic sanitation and indoor air pollution from the use of coal and biomass fuel tend to decrease. This has been termed the environmental health risk transition (Kjellstrom and Rosenstock, 1990; Smith, 1990, 1997). The final selection of study sites was dictated by the existence and knowledge of a reputable research centre in each city and the identification of an investigator who would take responsibility for the local co-ordination of the study. Because the range chosen is wide, the characteristics of these places vary considerably (see Figure 8.1). Differences between the cities are further illustrated by the Human Development Index (UNDP, 1990) for each parent country (Table 8.1). This index includes a health related indicator (life expectancy at birth), and two important health determinants, namely educational attainment (measured as adult literacy and school enrolment ratios) and standard of living (measured as real GDP per capita). In each city, the field studies were designed to meet the following objectives:
To identify the specific local environmental health problems that pose a threat to human health.
To describe the local decision-making process in environmental health.
To test the application of the proposed HEADLAMP methods.
To field test a proposed set of environmental health indicators.

*This chapter was prepared by C. Corvalán, G. Zielhuis and F. Barten

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