Health Thematic Portal: News
The new online mapping service, the National Priority List (NPL) Superfund Footprint Mapper, was featured as part of a Webinar sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Partnerships for Public Environmental Health (PEPH) on May 7. Participants numbered 158 attendees, more than 30 from federal agencies. Senior research associate Meredith Golden showcased the Mapper with assistance from geographic information specialist Tricia Chai-Onn, who also helped develop the service. Golden highlighted data from several projects of the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center operated by CIESIN. These include the U.S. Census Grids and the Global Poverty Mapping Project. The NPL Superfund Footprint Mapper can display population and environmental characteristics for areas surrounding more than 1700 NPL Superfund sites. An archived recording of the Webinar will be available soon on the SRP Web site.
A new report highlights initial progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after three years of implementation across five of the initial Millennium Village sites. The report, Harvests of Development in Rural Africa, is based on results from the recently completed midterm surveys, focusing on sector-based gains (e.g., health, education, infrastructure, and gender) and site-specific gains in five out of twelve Millennium Village sites. These sites are located in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, and Uganda.
The report compares data collected in the third year of the project to baseline measurements taken when the project was initiated. CIESIN, in collaboration with the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program of the Earth Institute (EI) and EI site teams, aided in the development and implementation of field and data management systems to collect, enter, clean, and analyze MDG-related survey data. The objective of these systems is to inform sustainable development activities over the 10-year time frame of the project and support research on how to transfer successful lessons to other areas.
The Millennium Villages pursue an integrated approach to sustainable development aimed at achieving all of the MDGs within African villages. The MDGs are an internationally agreed-upon set of specific goals based on numerical benchmarks, and include targets on income poverty, hunger, maternal and child mortality, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality, and environmental degradation.
Over the past few decades coastal waters throughout the world have received an increased influx of nutrients from land-based sources. The resulting change in water quality has many possible implications for coastal and marine ecosystems. In extreme cases eutrophication results, where excess nutrients in the water stimulate excessive plant growth. This can lead to hypoxia—oxygen-depleted “dead zones”—and harmful algal blooms.
Coastal water quality over time may be assessed by measuring chlorophyll concentrations as an indicator of algae biomass. A new global data set, Indicators of Coastal Water Quality, aims to identify near-coastal areas that have improving, declining, and stable chlorophyll concentrations in order to help identify areas that may need management intervention. The data set uses chlorophyll-a concentrations derived from NASA’s sea-viewing wide field-of-view sensor (SeaWiFS) to analyze trends over a ten year period (1998–2007). This data set is a result of a pilot effort, and the methodology will be further refined as part of a NASA Decisions feasibility project.
The World Health Programme (WHO) has released the World Malaria Report 2008. The Report utilizes country reports and household surveys to describe 1) the global distribution of malaria cases and deaths, 2) how WHO-recommended control strategies have been adopted and implemented in endemic countries, 3) sources of funding for malaria control, and 4) recent evidence that prevention and treatment can alleviate the burden of disease.
This supplement to the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene consists of 42 articles describing the most recent research on malaria, with contributions from epidemiologists, entomologists, microbiologists, economists, and social and geospatial scientists. The report “provides new knowledge and aims to strengthen the capacity of scientists and institutions to address the burden of malaria through research and development of science-based policies and interventions in the malarious countries.” Multiple donors include the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fogarty International Center and National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, GlaxoSmithKline, and World Health Organization.
One of the articles, “Malaria Stratification, Climate, and Epidemic Early Warning in Eritrea,” by lead author Pietro Ceccato and CIESIN scientists Malanding Jaiteh and Marc Levy and others, uses a novel stratification process involving principal component analysis and nonhierarchical clustering to define five areas with distinct malaria intensity and seasonality patterns, to guide future interventions and development of an epidemic early warning system.
The World Health Organization's World Health Report for 2007 focuses on the need for all countries to work together to effectively address new and re-emerging public health threats in order to ensure global public health security.
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), in partnership with public health organizations and the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, has released the first-ever report on children's health and environment indicators in North America.