Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

POLYMOD — Result In Brief

Project ID: 502084
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES

Making information useful for public health actors

Important advances have been made in gathering knowledge needed to improve decision-making in the area of public health. Useful information in the hands of relevant actors promises to go a long way in the fight against transmission of infectious diseases across Europe.
Making information useful for public health actors
The 'Improving Public Health Policy in Europe through Modelling and Economic Evaluation of Interventions for the Control of Infectious Diseases' (Polymod) project worked to strengthen European decision-making in the area of public health. The EU-funded partners achieved a number of important goals in this regard by developing, standardising and applying mathematical, risk assessment and economic models of infectious diseases.

Polymod's efforts were structured in such a way as to ensure the usefulness of modelling and economic analyses for public health policymakers and that the most important public health questions were addressed. The project thus made it possible for public health specialists, health economists, mathematical modellers and policymakers to interact.

Given that there was little knowledge regarding contemporary mixing patterns (key determinants of the transmission of many infections) at the onset of the project, researchers surveyed epidemiologically relevant contact patterns from representative samples of eight European countries. These data sets were supplemented by other sources of information, such as serological data from various countries. To analyse the data, new techniques were developed that proved invaluable for enhancing our understanding of transmission mechanisms. The knowledge generated also helped to improve relevant mathematical models.

Using the contact pattern data, sophisticated transmission dynamic models, necessary for predicting the impact of control programmes against infectious diseases, were adapted and developed to address various public health issues. Project members also developed novel techniques to assess dose–response relationships and estimate incidence for use in risk assessments of gastrointestinal pathogens.

Cost and outcome data were combined with results generated by the epidemic models for assessment of the cost-effectiveness of different European vaccination programmes.

Results of the project were presented to policymakers with a view to helping improve decision-making in the field of public health. With increased cross-border travel and medical concerns surrounding the transmission of infectious diseases, such an initiative is timely and much needed.

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