Introduction To prevent and manage the economic and societal burden due to occupational diseases (ODs), countries should develop strong prevention policies, effective health surveillance and registration systems. The present study aims to contribute to development of an effective surveillance model for occupational and work-related diseases at national level for prevention and management of ODs as well as identification of priority actions and interventions in Turkey.
Methods The history and current status of occupational health studies were assessed from the perspective of ODs surveillance and management. First, interpretative research was done through literature review on occupational health at national, regional and international level. Analyses were focused on countries’ experiences on policy development and practice, roles and responsibilities of institutions and other actors, multidisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration practices. Second, ODs surveillance models of Turkey, Belgium and the Netherlands were examined in a comparative way through exchange visits. Face-to-face interviews were conducted to explore the pecularities of legislative and institutional structures, the best and worst experiences, approach principles and important events.
Results Findings show that some countries are more focused on exploring ODs trends through effective and cost-efficient researches with particular attention to new and emerging diseases. While some countries try to reach every single case of ODs with an aim to redress the situation of victims through compensation and rehabilitation. Although each practice has different advantages and shortcomings, they are not mutually exclusive, and thus effective combination is possible.
Conclusion Effective surveillance and registry approach plays a key role in the prevention of ODs. Well-designed surveillance and registry system enables monitoring and assessment of ODs trends and adoption of appropriate preventive measures while improving the effectiveness of redressing and compensation. A robust surveillance model does not only provide protection to employee’ health but also enables conversion of economic losses into increased productivity.
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