Abstracts for each presentation are below and the feedback link. Please take the time to fill out the form. Your feedback will be used to identify the best poster and best oral presentation as well as providing valuable comments for the presenters.
14:00 Allison Gaines: Product-specific planetary health indicators for Australian packaged foods and beverages
Life-cycle analyses are the gold standard for defining the planetary health impact of foods. Lifecycle analyses are, however, resource intensive to do and available for only a tiny proportion of the hundreds of thousands of products on supermarket shelves in the EU. The very large number of available foods is made from a much smaller set of ingredients. These ingredients typically account for much of the environmental impact of the final food product. Lifecycle analyses are available for many of this smaller set of ingredients and an alternative approach to individual product lifecycle analyses may be to generate environmental impact estimates based upon ingredient composition.
A novel linear programming method has been developed to estimate ingredient proportions. Using GHGe data for about 1000 ingredients this has enabled GHGe estimates for about 25,000 Australian foods with additional adjustments for characteristics such as level of processing and country of origin.
The method requires validation and refinement, but initial findings indicate the potential to provide low cost product-specific GHGe data for hundreds of thousands of products. Expansion to include other dimensions of the environmental impact of foods such as packaging, land degradation and water use has commenced. This grant proposal could include a component of novel scientific investigation to develop this method for EU food products. It could potentially be expanded beyond fresh and packaged food products to also include restaurant foods.
14:15 Jo Herschan: Improving the water quality of small drinking-water supplies: using data to take action
Around half of the world’s population live in rural areas and are supplied by ‘small drinking-water supplies’. People living in rural areas are more likely to spend more time collecting water, have a lower quality of water and are less likely to use treated water than those in urban areas. In response to setting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 6.1, the focus on collecting monitoring data to better understand, verify, and in turn improve the water quality of these small drinking-water supplies increased. Although ongoing work regarding data collection is still required it is becoming increasingly noted that ‘even where data is collected, it is not necessarily being used to improve decision-making’ .
The World Health Organization (WHO) have become increasingly aware of and concerned with the lack of action being taken even though data are being collected. Findings of this research are feeding into a chapter in the latest WHO Guideline document for small drinking-water supplies, entitled ‘Using Information’.
Qualitative data collected from semi-structured interviews with stakeholders in two case study countries (England & Wales and Rwanda) have been collected to highlight factors which facilitate or hinder the use of data.
This presentation will highlight some of the key themes which have been identified from these two case studies including discussions around:
- The quality and usability of the data - ensuring the data represents reality,
- The importance of communication and collaboration between and within institutions,
- Transparency of data and open sources of data,
- Resources – human, financial, technology and technical expertise,
- Regulatory environment and enforcement of action,
- Stakeholder responsibilities.
 WaterAid. From data to decisions: How to promote evidence-based decision making through external investments in country-led monitoring processes. 2019. Available online: https://washmatters.wateraid.org/sites/g/files/jkxoof256/files/from-data-to-decisions.pdf (accessed 14 February 2020).
14:30 Gina Charnley: Relationships between drought and epidemic cholera in Africa
Temperature and precipitation are known to affect Vibrio cholerae outbreaks. However, the impact of drought on outbreaks has been largely understudied, especially in comparison to other hazards including floods. Several links between droughts and cholera outbreaks have been described and it is hypothesised that limited contaminated drinking water sources and increased risky drinking water behaviours are likely mechanisms for transmission. Cholera is also considered a disease of inequity and droughts may exacerbate vulnerabilities, heightening pathogen exposure. Here, we fit generalised linear models to publicly available cholera data and nineteen environmental and socioeconomic covariates, to understand the implications of droughts for cholera outbreak occurrence at a continental scale across Africa. We used the model to project cholera outbreaks until 2070 under three scenarios of global change, reflecting varying trajectories of CO2 emissions and socio-economic development. Temporal and spatial confounders were assessed, and leave-one-out cross validation was used to assess model performance. The best-fit model included drought as a significant risk factor for cholera outbreaks, alongside higher population, temperature and poverty and lower freshwater withdrawal per capita. The “worst-case” scenario (Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP)8.5, drought extrapolation and poor attainment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)1 and 6) saw a slight increase in cholera outbreaks to 2070, whereas the “best-case” (RCP4.5, drought baseline and attainment of SDG1 and 6) and intermediate scenarios saw cholera decreases. Despite an effect of drought and water scarcity in explaining recent cholera outbreaks here, socioeconomic covariates had a larger impact and future projections highlighted the potential for sustainable development gains to offset drought-related impacts on cholera risk. This novel work sheds new light on the potential infectious disease risks of drought. These results highlight the importance of lifting people out of poverty and strong climate change mitigation to improve health and reduce mortality.