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November 13th 2012
Strategic Approaches for International Chemical Management – Summary of the Third International Conference Chemical Management – ICCM3, Nairobi, September 17th-21st, 2012

Ana Boischio, advisor in toxicology, Pan American Health Organization, WDC, UA 

Summary of the strategy for strengthening the engagement of the health sector in the implementation of the Strategic Approaches for International Chemical Management approved during the third conference – Nairobi, September 17th-21st, 2012

Ana Boischio, advisor in toxicology, Pan American Health Organization, WDC, US

Health sector strategy (

Impacts of chemicals on human health
Global burden of disease attributable to exposure and management of selected chemicals represents 8.3% of the total deaths and 5.7% of the total burden of disease in DALYs worldwide (Pruss-Ustun et al., 2011[1]);
Children’s neurodevelopment - based on a population approach for an US 25.5 million children of 0 – 5 years old - contribution of methyl mercury, organophosphate pesticides and lead to neurodevelopmental morbidity expressed as FSIQ (Full Scale Intelligence Quotient) accounts for around 30% of all IFSIQ lost points among all risk factors (Bellinger 2012[2]).

Roles and responsibilities of health sector – not ranked by priority
Chemical emergencies;
Chemical risks;
Safer alternatives;
Awareness on chemical safety – people at risk;
Bio-monitoring and health surveillance – people at risk;
International mechanisms.

Challenges and opportunities to be addressed in the regional implementation plan
Stakeholders in the health sector – awareness on chemical safety;
Priorities in chemicals of concern – risk assessment and capacity building;
Bio-monitoring and surveillance;
Prevention and preparedness for poisonings and chemical emergencies;
Review global and regional plans of actions – for national implementation;
Synergies with the International Health Regulation implementation – attention to institutional fit of IHR and SAICM health sector.

Awareness among health related stakeholders – increasing the amount, quality and relevance of information, mapping different health-sector stakeholdersand communication;
Chemical risks assessment-capacity building and knowledge sharing by health sector;
Health sector capacity –
Inter sector communication and harmonization;
Resources use and leverage;
International agencies support/coordination.

Guiding principles
Prevention – precaution-vulnerable groups;
Consistency and coherence;
Audience: governments, inter governmental and non governmental organizations.

Awareness – stakeholder typology, information outputs, virtual information portal (“SAICM health”), scientific publications;
Health sector networks – INTOX, CIATs (centre of information on toxicology), International Health Regulation, chemical risk assessment network, others;
Focal points empowerment – communication role, horizontal inter sector work including the national implementation of plan of action, further development of terms of reference, health related briefing sessions;
Healthy health care settings – awareness, alternative options, replacement, disposal and storage (Health Care Without Harm major player);
Professional training – academic institutions working on courses and research with health sector demands in chemical safety;
Joint actions – multilateral environmental agreements, IHR-including laboratory facilities, emergency preparedness, health surveillance (including toxico-vigilance), risk assessment and communication, others.

Contacting new SAICM regional focal point – in progress;
Health sector strengthening to be included in the SAICM regional implementation plan;
Health in SAICM - implementation and monitoring – health SAICM focal points – needs to advance with terms of reference and reporting to regional SAICM coordinator;
WHO (in consultation with secretariat) to report on implementation of the strategy to ICCM4 (to be held in 2015).

1. Pruss-Ustun, A, Vickers, C, Haefliger, P, Bertollini, R (2011) Knowns and unknowns on burden of disease due to chemicasl: a systematic review. Environmental Health 10:9
2. Bellinger, DC (2012) A strategy for comparing the contributions of environmental chemicals and other risk factors to neurodevelopment of children. Environmental Health Perspectives 120 (4): 501-507

Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2013 10:13

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