Water-related diseases continue to cause a high burden of mortality and morbidity in the countries of the European Region. Parties to the Protocol on Water and Health are committed to the sustainable use of water resources, the provision of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation to all people of the European Region, and to the reduction of the burden of water-related diseases. A specialized Task Force is implementing a work plan aimed at strengthening the capacity for water-related disease surveillance, outbreak detection and contingency planning. Parties to the Protocol are obliged to set targets, and report on progress on water-related disease surveillance. The present paper aims to provide a baseline assessment of national capacities for water-related disease surveillance on the basis of the replies to a questionnaire. This was prepared in English and Russian and administered to 53 countries, 15 of which replied. The results confirm the heterogeneity in surveillance systems, the weakness of many countries to adequately survey emerging water-related diseases, and the need for specific remedial action. The findings of the exercise will form the basis for future action under the Protocol on Water and Health.
Keywords: European Region, Protocol on Water and Health, surveillance systems, waterborne diseases, water related diseases