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Baseline health assessment for an ESHIA project

As part of an Health Impact Assessment (HIA) project in Angola, a health baseline study needed to be conducted. Angola Resources Consultants (ARC) outsourced the desk-based research to Epi Result. This article discusses the steps that were taken in order to come to a final report on the baseline health status of the community in the region.

As part of an Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) project in Angola, a health baseline study needed to be conducted for the region which in the future might be exposed to certain impacts as a result of an off-shore oil field development. The local company that had been assigned the ESHIA, Angola Resources Consultants (ARC), outsourced the health baseline assessment to Epi Result.

Initially, a desk-based research was used and information was collected (by searching literature via Pubmed and Google) on prevalence and incidence of diseases (countrywide, Province, region), aetiology and transmission, disease presentation and diagnosis, treatment, prevention and interaction with other diseases. The information was reviewed and then collated into a report. This work I all did from home, but with a lot of email contact with the staff at ARC to continuously make sure that we were on one line with respect to what was required by their client.

Subsequently a kick off meeting was held in Luanda (from 16-20 May 2011) where I discussed with both ARC and their client (ENI) the results of the desk-based research. Based on the comments, additional information was included in the report. Furthermore, questionnaires for key-informants as well as focus group discussion questions were developed for the fieldwork that took place in June-July 2011. The health related data were then analysed by me and included in the report.

Finally the results of the environmental, social and health baseline were summarized and interconnections among the results discussed in the report. With that the baseline assessment has been completed and the next phase of the ESHIA can start.

Also interested in outsourcing the health related part of an ESHIA? Contact Epi Result.

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I am currently supporting I-TECH South Africa and the University of Washington with the development of an applied epidemiology distance learning course. One of the main tasks it to provide technical expertise related to the South African clinical and epidemiology contexts.

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