1 June 2012

Health Baseline within Different IAs - Discussion

Why is lead poisoning still happening given what we know and the many national bans and international bans?

There are many incidences of lead poisoning Nigeria as well as Peru and happening around the world.

Should the baseline collection occur at scoping or after the scoping, I.e. that scoping should develop the key questions on baseline and Terms of Reference? Often authorities do the scoping an dthen tell the IA team what baseline to collect.

  • Need to start thinking about baseline early, even sometimes before scoping to get the necessary permits.
  • HIA team need to be involved in the scoping, most often imy experience IA practitioner tend to draft the terms of reference and these are sent to the regulatory agency.

How doe she data collection contribute to the project development process?
  • We need to be selective about the type of indicators you collect
  • We look at the feasibility studies e.g. Geotechnical to see if there is heavy metals in the soil and water and whether they might have health implication in local communities
  • There is an overlap between the phases of screening, scoping and analysis
  • It's also important to create a picture of the area to go beyond the obvious issues to enable less obvious impacts to be considered later in the IA
Inform analysis of impacts and to provide baseline for monitoring and comparing before and after health status. Third purpose is that it can inform the social investment programme, baseline can inform the health needs assessment that is needed to develop the health projects within the social investment programme?

  • Agree an disagree, may fit with some clients but sometimes the structure of the health impact baseline can be different to a health needs and health service assessment.
  • There is a problem with attribution of impacts, but baseline indicators can inform the monitoring process and track the value of a project.
  • Can be an issue that the positive impacts can also lead to negative impacts e.g. Men working in the oil company and the children take on father's activity and this leads to negative impact.
  • We've been asked to do an IA and we've been given a baseline developed by an NGO and where they could invest is not what is needed for the IA.
The definition of children an be different in different countries, Children are under 16 years in a country but children in malaria programmes are seen as those under 5 years old; challenges in what data is collected?

  • Need to understand the context and the indicators can be comparable but need to understand whe the measure has come from.

How much data collection is enough too much and difficult to analyse and too little and don't have enough to understand the context?

  • Often don't have budget to do too much
  • There often a minimum amount that is considered statistically significant in primary surveys to ensure generalisibility.
  • Often want to have as much as you can get.
Drummed into you that you don't collect individual level data unless you know what you need it for. If you can't use it to monitor it then why should we be collecting it?

  • Collecting height and weight data, in a situation whe agricultural land is leased or taken then this can affect nutritional stays of children but by knowing that children are already stunted we know with the situation is getting worse.
  • Same is true for environmental data, offshore exploration wells, they had to collect air pollution but often the impact is a cumulative type of impact

Wind farm baseline is likely to be different from a chemical factory baseline in terms of the indicators or data collected. Similarly for whether the a rural or urban community is affected.


How do you deal with private data sets that only share if you pay them? Should companies pool and share the data? Same community can be accessed twice in a very short time.

  • Often the data shared with health agency, community and Ministry, yes.
  • Data on the website then no.
  • Sometimes you can ask the company who commissioned and they may share.
  • Often companies for commercial sensitivity reasons don't want to share.

In Thailand for information collected in an EIA and HIA after the data put in the report and the report approved by regulatory agency then this information is put in the public domain.






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