WHO’s new health and environment scorecards for more than 60 countries provide an illustrated snapshot of where countries are facing six major environmental health threats: air pollution, water, sanitation (WASH), climate change, exposure to chemicals, radiation, and occupational health.
Comparing with a healthy baseline in each category, the scorecards highlight the magnitude of the most pressing problems in that country in each area; the health impacts of failing to achieve these goals and the policies that are, or should be, in place to address the problems.
Their ultimate purpose is to help countries and national policy makers identify priorities and areas that need great attention and resources.
The scorecards were developed as part of a broader package of materials to strengthen concrete action on health and the environment, including the WHO extensive Compendium and other UN guidelines on health and the environment that provide concrete measures which can be implemented in various sectors.
“If a policy maker has identified, as highlighted in the scorecards, a high disease burden from air pollution in their country, for example, they can then turn to the WHO Compendium and other UN guidelines on health and environment. and other WHO support offers concrete practical measures, “said Dr Annette Prüss-Ustün, Head of Unit, Health and Environment Policy and Intervention, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, World Health Organization. “The information provides a snapshot of where countries are, without the need to consult numerous additional data sources.”
The term “scorecard
The term “scorecard” refers to reporting a status. National values, such as the concentration of fine particulate air pollution, or the percentage of the population that has access to safe drinking water, can also be compared with reference values that highlight the potential health gains that can be made. The attached reading guide provides more details.
The scorecards will be updated frequently, allowing countries to track their progress, but also to compare their performance with other countries in the same region.
“Scorecards are intended to provide individual governments with summary information to view their health and environmental status at a glance,” added Prüss-Ustün. “It also provides support for measuring progress in an easy-to-communicate way. Scorecards help with measurement and indicate areas that require urgent action. ”
Accompanying analysis beyond the Scorecard
The WHO Compendium and other UN guidelines on health and the environment provide more than 500 practical actions from over 400 reports and guidelines for improving health by creating healthier environments.
In the reading guide, each section of the scorecard, corresponding to the six areas of environmental determinants of health present, is linked to the relevant chapters of this Compendium.
Additional material is also available with more general information on health and the environment and key environmental risks, such as the brochure ‘Healthy Environments for Healthier Populations: Why Do They Matter and What Can They Do?’.
Scorecards contain data that has already been made available to countries and do not include new data. They summarize and present data already published in an easy-to-use overview, especially for busy policy makers and other stakeholders.
The health and environmental scoresheets will soon be developed for other countries.