Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
SCHUTZ, Gabriel et al. Application of key frameworks to an indicator-based evaluation of environmental health in Latin America and the Caribbean. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2008, vol.24, n.4, pp. 276-285. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892008001000008.
The establishment of environmental health indicators for assessing the adverse effects of environmental changes on the population's health and quality of life is, as yet, a goal that has not been fully reached in Latin America and the Caribbean. As such, the United Nations Environment Program and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have convened Region's institutions and experts to develop a comprehensive method for assessing environmental health. This paper evaluates several methodologies, comprehensive or otherwise, for assessing health and the environment, and describes the frameworks that have historically undergirded the key methods that have either structured or generated the environmental health indicators being used in Latin America and the Caribbean. The recurring, methodological limitations were identified: (a) relying heavily on secondary data, which points out the need for technological infrastructure that is rarely available in Latin America and the Caribbean today; and (b) a lack of clear criteria for developing inclusive tools that would facilitate the discussion of environmental health issues at the grass-roots level. Despite the progress made by the field of environmental health with regard to understanding its interdisciplinary complexities, intersectoral operations must be improved to favor open communication and implementation of integrated policies on environmental and health.
Keywords : Environmental health; health indicators; environmental indicators; Latin America; Caribbean Region.