Saturday, 15 June 2013

Using disability-adjusted life years to set health-based targets: A novel use of an established burden of disease metric

Katherine, Gibney

Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) are used as a means of quantifying the impact of a disease upon a population, and to evaluate and prioritise differing public health strategies. DALYS are a unit of measurement which determines the impact of a disease on an individual’s life span as compared to an idealised “healthy” life span. One DALY equates to one year of life lost.

Katherine Gibney and her colleagues have analysed a novel approach to the use of these measurements involving the use of data to set health based targets so as to reduce the burden of disease on the population.

One example is using DALYs to identify the impact of pathogens in drinking water, and to then use this data to establish guidelines for the safe levels of waterborne pathogens.  The researchers theorised that this model could be applied to other instances such as air quality, food safety and various other circumstances.

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