Public health monitoring is a crucial part of all governmental health programs that aim to capture both the physical and mental health of communities, detect changes and evaluate the impact of programs and policies intended to improve their health status.
However, the quick and reliable assessment of the overall health of a population remains challenging. Building upon the need to develop evidence-based public health models and the One Health initiative, which strives at promoting interdisciplinary approaches to improve health, our proposal “SewHealth – Advancing wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) towards a comprehensive community-wide health indicator” addresses these challenges. We propose the rapid and inexpensive evaluation of public health, at the a community scale, for the whole of the Netherlands. Our approach relies on the principle that levels of specific biomarkers found in wastewater reflect what people in a community have consumed or been exposed to. By detecting and quantifying these biomarkers in the influent of the 350 wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) spread across the Netherlands, we can monitor the current health status of the country at different levels of granularity (e.g., community, regional and national). By selecting different biomarkers of interest we can assess i) lifestyle, for instance the consumption of alcohol, tobacco or illicit drugs; ii) dietary habits, such as meat and soya consumptionby measuring food markers; iii) disease and exposure, by looking at levels of different pharmaceuticals, endogenous and exposure biomarkers, as well as microbiological indicators (e.g., antibiotic resistance). Ultimately, we envision to build a minable IT infrastructure based on WBE and socio-epidemiological data. Such a database does not exist currently, but has the potential to vastly improve outcomes of future health policies and provide an invaluable source of evidence-based data substantively improving quality of life in communities.
Therefore we, together with UvA IBED, are organizing a matchmaking event, on December 6, 2018, at KWR in Nieuwegein, to present the project idea and to build a consortium of partners that will apply for funding in the framework of the Dutch National Research Agenda – Research along Routes by Consortia (NWA-ORC).
If you wish to participate, please register below. Participation is free. To encourage the discussion, we will only ask participants to provide a very brief description of how they think that they can contribute to the project.
If you cannot participate to the event but wish to be informed about the outcomes, please register anyhow and tick the box “I cannot attend but I wish to be kept informed”.