Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is primarily concerned with the future consequences of plans, proposals and policies on the health of communities. It is a rapidly growing complement to Environmental Impact Assessment, increasingly mandated by national and international requirements. Guidelines have been produced by many national and international organizations and it is being introduced in a number of undergraduate or postgraduate university curricula. However, there has been until now no broad-based, introductory text of international scope to the subject, suitable for both these courses and for professional training.
The purpose of this book is to fill this gap and to introduce the subject of Health Impact Assessment using plain language, in both general and specific contexts and with reference to both market and less developed economies. As a result, the reader should be able to describe what HIA can and cannot achieve, identify the components of a successful HIA and participate in an assessment as a member of a team. Examples are provided from a number of planning and development sectors, including extractive industry, water resource management, and housing. The reader, whether student or professional, need not be a health specialist, although prior knowledge of some public or environmental health would be an advantage.