Collaborating Centre Connection - January 2011
In this issue:
- Update on the Network of Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health
- Update on the Network 2009-2012 Workplan
- Farewell to Timo Leino and welcome to Kaj Husman as GPA 3 Co-Manager
- Introducing your new CCC editors: Nura Sadeghpour and Liz Garza
- Spotlight: Project 3.19o - National University of Singapore
- Spotlight: Projects 5.27f and 5.27g - Clinic of Occupational and Environmental Health at Odense University Hospital, Denmark
- WHO in the News - HIV & TB Guidelines developed by ILO, WHO and UNAIDS
The Network of Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health http://www.who.int/occupational_health/network/en/ currently includes 74 government, research and academic institutions from 40 countries, and three non-governmental organizations (ICOH, IOHA and IEA) in the CC Directory http://www.who.int/occupational_health/network/cc_directory.pdf. We want to welcome the institutes that have joined us very recently and have contributed their first projects into the Network 2009-2012 Workplan:
- Occupational Health and Safety Research Institute Robert-Sauvé (IRSST)
- Hong Kong Occupational Safety and Health Council (OSHC)
- Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, St. George’s University
Occupational Health Research Institute (IISO), University of Guadalajara
- Ministry of Labour and Social Security Occupational Health and Safety Institute (ISGÜM)
- United Arab Emirates:
- Department of Community Medicine, United Arab Emirates University
The December 2010 edition of the Network 2009-2012 Work Plan http://www.who.int/occupational_health/network/2009_2012_workplan/en/index.html has been posted on the WHO website. It consists of 300 individual projects organized into 5 GPA objectives and 15 priority areas agreed by the Network. Five documents constitute the Workplan and can be viewed on the website:
- Summary of GPA Priorities (key 2 page document showing priorities, deliverables, leadership)
- Summary of Project Titles (easy to see projects contributing to each priority area)
- Grid showing projects of each Collaborating Centre (easy way to check your CC projects)
- Compendium of Project Descriptions (473 pages containing detailed project descriptions)
- Facilitating Project Document (administrative document listing project titles and anticipated 2012 products)
The projects are managed by the GPA Managers and initiative leaders, in cooperation with the WHO occupational health staff in Geneva and regional offices. Deliverables for the year 2012 have been identified by the project leaders for the majority of the projects. Over the next few months there will be a focus on collecting key products, indicators of success, and examples of impact to demonstrate the successes of the 2009-2012 Workplan.
After over two years of service as a manager for the Network projects advancing GPA Objective 3 - Improving the performance of and access to occupational health services - Timo Leino of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health says farewell to this post, and leaves us with a few highlights and learnings:
GPA 3 includes two priority areas: Establishing and evaluating basic occupational health services that are relevant, accessible, acceptable, affordable and of good quality, participating in national and regional stakeholder coalitions and exchanging practical and scientific support to expand and improve the delivery of basic occupational health services (Priority 1), and Adapting and disseminating curricula, training materials and training for international capacity building in occupational health (Priority 2). Basic occupational health services that have been adopted, particularly in countries where they were near non-existent, and which have the support of WHO and ILO, are part of a long-term development process building off of grassroots level actions. In countries where resources are limited, prioritizing occupational health on the national agenda has attained some progress: Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia have added occupational health within their National health strategies, as well as China and Thailand; currently, there is a pilot effort occurring in Turkey. Improving access and services is a long-term vision, and the Network meeting in Geneva 2010 http://www.who.int/occupational_health/network/collaborating_centres_meeting
/en/index.html provided an important impetus for the Collaborating Centres. What needs to continue is to first create strategy, followed by appropriate programs and trained workers to carry them through.
Timo leaves us with these lasting thoughts: "I appreciate the enthusiasm and commitment of my colleagues all over the world who put in their efforts on a volunteer basis...I have been able to visit many countries and consult with experts from various places and it is always wonderful to see everyone supporting each other. Of course, each country has different obstacles, but we share the same ideals: Workplace health & safety and social justice. As a community we can build a better and safer world which ultimately contributes to its peace."
Thank you Timo, for your dedicated service!
At this time we would also like to welcome Dr. Kaj Husman, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Work Ability in the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, who has replaced Timo and will be co-manager for GPA 3, working with Leslie Nickels. Kaj has been introduced by Timo as the "father of occupational health in Finland" who has been very active in developing occupational health services (OHS) practices and guidelines for his country as well as in the international arena, spearheading training and education for multidisciplinary staff and assessing productivity and effectiveness of OHS. We extend a warm welcome to Kaj, and are glad to have him with us!
Nura Sadeghpour joined the NIOSH Office of Health Communication and Global Collaboration in September 2010 after completing a Master of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles in June. Prior to entering the Masters program, Nura worked in journalism, magazine and radio in both the US and Chile, having received a Bachelors in Communications from UC Berkeley in 2003. She has also worked extensively with children and youth in problem-solving and empowerment education, and most recently worked to advocate for adolescents within the LA County foster care system in their search for permanent, adoptive families, providing trainings and orientations for potential hosts and parents and helping to run a weekend mentor program. A native of both Nicaragua and Los Angeles, CA she maintains connections with Spanish-speaking communities while merging the fields of communication and health and narrowing the gaps between research and practice. As part of her role at NIOSH she will be working closely with the Global Plan of Action Network, manage the collection of relevant learnings and success stories, and serve as Editor in Chief of the CCC Newsletter.
Elizabeth Garza joined the NIOSH Office of the Director in December 2009 and just this month has moved into the NIOSH Office of Global Collaboration. Prior to joining NIOSH she worked in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Secretary, Office of Global Health Affairs. There she served as an International Health Analyst and Project Officer for the Afghanistan Health Initiative with several trips to Kabul, Afghanistan as part of this Secretarial Initiative. In 2008, she was selected to serve as part of a Joint Humanitarian Mission where she spent two months on the USS Boxer’s ’Operation Continuing Promise’ working on public health projects in Central and South America. Prior to her service in Latin America, she also spent some time working in Iraq with the Ministry of Water Resources.
Liz Garza received her Master of Public Health in International Policy & Programs from George Washington University in 2005 and her Bachelor in Science in Biology & International Relations from The College of William & Mary in 2002. She is a native Spanish speaker (family coming from Spain).
Training of trainers to provide better occupational health services to the blue-collar working population in Riau, Indonesia
By David Koh, project leader
The National University of Singapore WHO Collaborating Centre, with the Singapore International Foundation, the Provincial Health Office of Riau Archipelago Province, and with support from the Ministry of Health, Republic of Indonesia, worked together in this project. The goals of the project aim to enhance knowledge and skills in occupational health among health workers in Riau Archipelago, Indonesia. Approximately 250,000 workers, mostly blue-collar, from 3,102 companies (including factories) in Batam, and an estimated 200,000 workers on other islands in the province (chiefly Bintan and Karimun) will benefit from health care personnel who are better trained in the delivery of occupational health.
The first 4-day training program was held in Batam Island on August 2009. The training was followed by a second training program for 30 participants from June 1-4, 2010. Topics covered included: Diagnosis and management of occupational and work-related disease, how to assess the workplace, infection control for protection of healthcare workers and patients, and health promotion and disease prevention at the workplace. Workplace visits were organized to a food-catering factory and to a pipe-coating factory. In addition, there were case studies on occupational diseases and the environmental health impact of a workplace on the community, and demonstrations of occupational hygiene equipment. Ministry of Health trainers from Jakarta presented topics on occupational health policy, and occupational health in health care establishments in Indonesia. The next training will be held from 25-29 April 2011 in Bintan and Karimu.
SPOTLIGHT: PROJECTS 5.27f and 5.27g - CLINIC OF OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH at ODENSE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, DENMARK
Pesticide Use, Health and Environment, Uganda & Pesticide Use, Health and Environment, Bolivia
By Wendy McDonald (GPA 5 manager) and Erik Jors (Project leader)
The WHO Collaborating Centre, the Clinic of Occupational and Environmental Health at Odense University Hospital, Denmark, has commenced a new project to reduce the harmful effects of pesticides in Uganda. Following a model already established by this Centre in Bolivia, Ugandan farmers are being taught Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which is a program of prevention, monitoring, and control offering the opportunity to eliminate or drastically reduce the use of the most toxic pesticides, and to introduce ecological alternatives. In addition, Ugandan health care workers are being taught how to diagnose, treat and prevent acute pesticide poisoning, while a broader community education program is working with civil society groups such as the National Farmers Federation to develop their capacity to advocate for concrete actions in the "district pesticide committees" and the National Agricultural Chemicals Board, to ensure sustainable food production. Web-based information resources and e-learning to support these activities will be made available through known educational platforms. This work is being undertaken in collaboration with the Danish NGO Diálogos, the Danish Society of Occupational Medicine, and the University of Southern Denmark and Copenhagen, the Ugandan Ministries of Health and of Agriculture, and the Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health, with funding from Danida. Local implementation is undertaken by the NGO UNACOH (Ugandan National Association of Community and Occupational Health) coordinated by Dr. Deogratias Sekimpi, specialist in Occupational Medicine. The project was launched in June 2010, staff has been employed, infrastructure and detailed project activity plans are in place and agreed upon among local partners. A local steering committee has been set up and by January 2011 baseline survey among farmers, pesticide salesmen and health care workers will be realized with collaboration from the Makerere University in Kampala and Danish Universities.
On September 1, 2010 the "parent" project in Bolivia was extended with a third and final phase running for 3 years. This project has educated thousands of farmers, health care staff, students and children on "pesticides, health and environment", including integrated pest management (IPM). The Bolivian Ministry of Agriculture’s program of education for farmers has been strengthened by incorporating IPM within it, and this approach is also being integrated within other national policies for agricultural pesticides regulation. To promote the sustainability of this work, the PLAGBOL Foundation has been created to maintain and extend work on problems of pesticides and toxic substances in Bolivia and more widely throughout Latin-America and globally - for example, in Uganda as outlined above. PLAGBOL has had close collaboration with PAHO in educational events at universities, introducing a register of pesticide toxins in the National Health Statistics and within various activities with the neighboring countries. In this third phase of the project the aim is to streamline preventive activities for use by the Municipalities experiencing problems with extensive use of pesticides, and to improve existing education and information materials to make them available globally. Several studies have been underway and currently two Danish Public Health students together with Bolivian students from the University San Andrés in La Paz are preparing to create videos of the villages to illustrate the typical problems for farmers when handling pesticides as well as their possible solutions - a product that will be the basis for e-learning materials in the coming years. The PLAGBOL Foundation is responsible for local implementation, coordinated by Dr. Guido Condarco, specialist in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The Danish partners are supporting with international knowledge and experience in the field of pesticides.
It is estimated that every year about 1,000 health workers are infected with HIV at work and many more are infected by TB as a result of workplace exposure. A joint WHO-ILO-UNAIDS effort was launched in order to address the needs of more than 60 million health workers on the frontline of delivering services, including giving treatment and care for people living with HIV or TB. Policy guidelines have been designed to improve health worker access to HIV and TB prevention, treatment, care and support. Following the guidelines will protect health workers and prevent exposure to occupational hazards as well as provide increased access to treatment, care and support services. The guidelines were approved following the joint WHO and ILO tripartite experts meeting on HIV, TB and other occupational health risks for health workers held in Geneva, Switzerland at the international headquarters for WHO and ILO on 6-9 July 2010. Susan Wilburn, Technical Officer WHO Occupational Health, has our immense gratitude for her leadership.
According to the guidelines, health workers shall be provided with adequate supplies of materials, personal protective equipment and receive education on how to protect themselves. The ILO will ensure social dialogue between workers and employers to implement these guidelines and UNAIDS will advocate for their promotion and adoption. In addition, close collaboration between the labour sector and the health sector will lead to a more structured and systematic workplace inspection process, which will help ensure monitoring of the implementation of labour standards and regulations to protect health workers.
ILO, UNAIDS and WHO will collaborate to put these guidelines on the agenda of their regional and country level activities. In Peru, for example, they have been working with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour on the development of new health guidelines for protecting the occupational health and safety of health workers that mirror these joint Guidelines. Peru was involved in the development of the joint Guidelines and participated in the guideline group expert committee. The new guidelines reinforce the 2005 Joint ILO/WHO guidelines on health services and HIV/AIDS with three additional key elements:
* HIV and tuberculosis (TB) co-infection is one of the 10 priority areas agreed in 2010 by UNAIDS and presents a major challenge in global health. In particular, if HIV positive health workers are not protected from TB at the workplace, they can become infected with TB and are at risk of dying.
* The emergence of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) has required increased action to prevent infection and provide treatment and care for those who develop the disease.
* While the 2005 guidelines referenced TB, they did not include language about how to protect health workers from infection in the workplace, or the need for TB infection control at work. These new guidelines address this gap comprehensively.
Link to guidelines in English:
Link to guidelines in Spanish:
Link to guidelines in French:
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