E-Journal Bonus Article: The Path to Informed Policies: Environmental Health Indicators and the Challenges of Developing a Surveillance System in Lebanon
There are multiple factors that affect human health and well-being and the environment is among the major determinants. Nevertheless, health research and interventions are generally isolated from environmental research. The main objective of this research work is to assess the challenges of developing a national surveillance system that can bridge the knowledge gaps among environmental hazards/stressors, human exposure, health outcomes and interventions. Various environmental health frameworks and approaches to developing environmental health indicators (EHIs) were examined. Semistructured interviews with key stakeholders were conducted to assess the feasibility of collecting EHIs and the challenges of developing an environmental health surveillance system (EHSS). Thematic analysis was employed to examine and evaluate the transcripts comprehensively. Based on the outcomes of the interviews, we were able to identify various indicators in Lebanon that were scrutinized with regards to availability, quality, and usefulness—as well as applicability to the context of Lebanon. Stakeholders reported that the most significant solutions consist of institutionalizing the system within the government, raising awareness of the private and public sector on EHSS, centralizing one entity responsible for leading implementation of the system, establishing a national council for environmental health surveillance, and developing a comprehensive database.
Speaker / Author:
May A. Massoud, Department of Environmental Health, American University of Beirut
Tala Moukaddem, Department of Environmental Health, American University of Beirut
Nasser Yassin, Department of Health Management and Policy, American University of Beirut