Communities and individuals require access to goods, services, facilities and opportunities – basic needs are inter alia water, food, shelter, education, employment and health. Among those the health potentials of mobility interventions for people and particularly for the poor are probably least understood and explored.
A recent SDC supported TransNet workshop concluded that mobility and transport could have both a positive and a negative impact on poor people’s health. Participants agreed that in order to optimise the health potentials of activities that improve mobility, the sector must thoroughly assess the knowledge gaps, make steps to share existing research and generate new knowledge to fill the gaps.
In the context of increasing development efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals, a better understanding of the relationship between transport and health becomes a priority. The transport sector needs to be more proactive in sensitising the health sector to the importance of mobility as a crosscutting component of improved health interventions.
The objectives of the international networked research program on mobility interventions and related health impacts are to:
- Increase the understanding of mobility and issues of poor people in different developing country contexts;
- Develop tools that will enable transport professionals to include holistic health impact assessments in the planning and implementation of transport interventions;
- Develop an advocacy program to sensitise the health sector to mobility issues.
Altogether, the networked research program on mobility and health had the following outputs:
- A web-based literature review on issues of mobility and health in developing countries that will identify key gaps in knowledge and major issues relating to mobility and health;
- An analytical framework for analysing the issues relating to mobility and health at the micro, mezzo and macro levels;
- Regional initial researcher workshops, followed by 20-30 case studies from Asia, Africa and Latin America;
- An international symposium to present the issues raised by the case studies and to develop outlines for the ‘toolkit’ and the advocacy program;
- A ‘toolkit’ for transport professionals to include holistic health impact assessments in the planning and implementation of transport interventions;
- A planned program of awareness raising of mobility issues among health sector professionals;
- A network of people interested in continuing the debate and discussions on mobility and health.