About health and EO: let us hear your voice at LPS22

Nothing more than human health has been an element of concern during the last couple of years.

The pandemic has brought to focus the global scale of diseases and the inter-connection of a number of factors (e.g. climate, ecological conditions, global travel and trade, urbanization) when looking at risk, spread and treatment of threats to human health.

The health theme will be one of those on stage at next year’s Living Planet Symposium, one of the largest events worldwide dedicated to Earth observation.

You are invited to submit an abstract (deadline 26 November 2021) and gain the opportunity to be a speaker in one of the dedicated sessions at the symposium.

You may like to present the latest scientific advances on the use of Earth observations for Vector Borne Diseases, discuss opportunities and challenges to identify the road map to move from big data towards great value for public health, or to showcase examples on the use of Earth observations, geospatial technologies, and social media to identify threats to human health (e.g., from air quality or water quality), to provide warning to reduce health risks, and to facilitate remedial actions and response measures in the event of disease outbreaks.

Any of the following two sessions might be the most relevant for you:

D2.05 Earth Observation data in Vector Borne Diseases

Vector-borne diseases (VBDs) are an important threat with an increasing impact on public health due to wider geographic range of occurrence and higher incidences. Identifying suitable environmental conditions across large areas containing multiple species of potential hosts and vectors can be difficult.

Climate change, ecological conditions, global travel and trade, rapid and unplanned urbanization, are key factors affecting the geographical and seasonal distribution of vectors’ population and thus influencing the transmission of pathogens, causing the spread of VBDs to countries where they were previously unknown.

The introduction of a VBD in a new area is often linked to host movements or other long-distance ways. Once a VBD is introduced in a new area with a large number of susceptible hosts, its establishment and spread are mainly constrained by the spatial and temporal distribution of the competent vector presence and abundance, under a permissive climate. The climate and the environment strongly influence the presence and distribution of vectors responsible for significant human and animal diseases worldwide. A fine understanding of the vectors’ habitat suitability that facilitates survival, reproduction and dispersal becomes therefore of paramount importance for determining the risk of local persistence and spread. Recent and future years offer a deluge of remote sensing (RS) and Earth Observation (EO) data, thanks to the collection of land and sea surface characteristics at high spatial and temporal resolutions with a wide number of spectral bands (land surface temperature, normalized difference vegetation index, soil moisture, etc.). The characterization of physical environments can now be performed at multi-scale levels, opening new challenging opportunities in vector borne studies.

The session will present the latest scientific advances on the use of Earth observations for Vector Borne Diseases, discuss opportunities and challenges and will identify the road map to move from big data towards great value for Public Health.

Convenors: Annamaria Conte (Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise “G. Caporale”)

D2.11 Earth Observation for Health

The last 18 months have shown us, if we were not aware of it before, of the fragility of human health, and of the need to work collectively, at the global scale, to conquer pandemics of deadly, infectious diseases. It has reinforced the importance of the “One Health” concept: the inter-connections of human health at the global scale has been brought to the fore, and there is enhanced awareness of the need for a healthy global population, if health within a nation is to be sustained. Geo-spatial technologies have become indispensable for track-and-trace of infection routes; for timely and effective delivery of medical services; and for provision survival packages to those who have been hit hard. More generally, Earth observations have proven to be helpful in understanding the environmental controls on vector-borne and water-borne diseases; in providing advance warning; and generating risk maps. But these efforts remain dedicated to small study areas and to particular diseases, with no substantial effort to integrate across regions or across diseases. In the wake of global economic downturn following the covid pandemic, there are projected decreases to health-related aid flowing from rich countries to poorer ones, with associated increased risks to millions of lives vulnerable to ‘neglected tropical diseases’, according to WHO (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57506479). Many experts are of the opinion that more waves of covid outbreaks awaits the world in the near future, and that more global-scale outbreaks of new diseases from hitherto unknown sources are likely. Climate change, with associated increases in extreme weather conditions (floods, droughts, heat waves), warmer oceans and changing circulation patterns are likely to expand the geographic areas vulnerable to water-borne diseases such as cholera, according to experts. Faced with these threats to human health that are associated with environmental conditions, it has become an imperative to explore better use of resources available to the space sector, for control and mitigation of disease outbreaks, as well as to use Earth Observations to maintain and improve ecosystem health, towards meeting sustainable development goals, and hence to improved human health.

The session will contribute to the conference objective “understand Earth systems” by pushing the boundaries of our knowledge regarding ecosystem health and its relation to human health and to theme Sustainable Development. It will also contribute to objective “empower the green transition”, by developing deeper understanding of how sustainable management of planetary resources and building resilience to threats from infectious diseases is related to ecosystem health.

The session will be open to contributions on the use of Earth observations, geospatial technologies, and social media, to identify threats to human health (e.g., from air quality or water quality); to provide warning to reduce health risks; and to facilitate remedial actions and response measures in the event of disease outbreaks. Illnesses that are directly linked to environmental conditions (such as breathing disorders that are associated with air quality), and infectious diseases whose propagations are linked to environmental conditions (such as atmospheric conditions and vector-borne diseases, or water quality and water-borne diseases) fall within the scope of the session. Submission of work coupling epidemiological and other health-related models with environmental data for forecasting disease outbreaks is also encouraged. The role of smart phones for managing human health is also within the scope of the session.

Convenors: Shubha Sathyendranath (PML), Stefano Ferretti (ESA), Irina Gancheva (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”), Rochelle Schneider (ESA)

 

 

The Living Planet Symposia bring together scientists and researchers from all over the world to present and discuss the latest findings on Earth science and advances in Earth observation technologies. Moreover, these extraordinary events also offer unique forums for decision-makers to be better equipped with information, for partnerships to be forged and formalised, for space industries to join the conversation, for students to learn, and for all to explore the concepts of New Space such as the digital transformation and commercialisation.

 

Featured image : Smog in Beijing. Credit: Lei Han

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