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Published: 11 May 2020

Special edition newsletter of the EUPHA section Public Health Monitoring and Reporting:

Monitoring the wider effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on population health

Welcome to this special edition newsletter of the EUPHA section on Public Health Monitoring and Reporting (EUPHA-PHMR). This newsletter is part of a campaign on monitoring the wider effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on population health, which the EUPHA section PHMR is organizing in the context of the European Public Health Week. Co-organizers are the Belgian national public health institute Sciensano, the Joint Action on Health Information InfAct and the EUPHA section on Health Impact Assessment.

During the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus of surveillance and monitoring – logically – has been on indicators on the transmissibility, seriousness, and direct impact of COVID-19, as well as on public health and healthcare capacity. It remains of utmost importance to keep on collecting data for such indicators for supporting evidence-informed exit strategies. Nevertheless, it is recommended to also take a broader perspective on monitoring population health into account, as the COVID-19 outbreak will affect the health of populations through multiple pathways. Not only through the direct death and disease caused by the infection, but also through for example the impact of mitigation measures on mental health, the health effects of the economic consequences of the outbreak, and the effects of missed or delayed care for non-COVID-19 related conditions during the first peak-period.

Through this dedicated newsletter and our social media channels, we want to exchange practice examples, share useful resources, and stimulate debate.


Practice examples


In Belgium, COVID-19 specific health surveys are organised. The COVID-19 health surveys help scientists and policymakers to estimate the impact of the corona crisis on health. It allows to map trends and study various public health topics. Attention is given to physical, mental and social wellbeing, and the use of health services. The questionnaire is distributed in three waives. 44 000 participants responded to the first wave. Preliminary results are already available for the first wave (in French, and in Dutch). The second wave has ended on the 23 of April and also yielded 44 000 participants. A third wave will be organized at the end of May. You can find more information here.

Contact: Stefaan Demarest


In Wales an academic, public health agency, health service and Government collaboration was created to respond to the COVID19 challenge and provide intelligence to guide policy and practice interventions to minimise direct and indirect harms to the population. The centre of this activity is the creation of a total population privacy protecting 2020 cohort derived from multiple data sources from the SAIL databank and a counterfactual cohort from 2016-2019, led by Health Data Research UK scientific staff at Swansea University. Each cohort contains circa 3m individuals linked by household, small area and school groups. There are multiple dataflows from health service registers, hospital data, daily GP and COVID19 test data and linkages with administrative datasets. The data are being used to monitor, predict and evaluate national and local interventions. All analyses are fed back to the Welsh Government COVID19 Technical Advisory Group. More information.

Contact: Ronan Lyons


The new Dutch Public health foresight study, in the light of COVID-19

Public Health foresight might be more necessary than ever to get a grip on possible (health) impacts of the current coronavirus outbreak. This concerns its direct health effects but also indirectly the crisis will have effects, for example, due to changes in regular health care or changes in lifestyle. In addition, socio-economic developments might have their effect on health on the longer term. In RIVM’s new Dutch Public Health Foresight study, scenarios will be developed to provide insight into these impacts, accounting for the current pandemic. The aim is to support a better assessment of (exit) strategies in which the broad effects are integrated (time horizon 0-5 years). A second goal is to provide insights into longer-term future developments (10-20 years) given the newly gained knowledge about the risks of such a pandemic. More information.

Contact: Henk Hilderink


Now, when countries have established emergency response systems for the COVID-19 epidemic and monitor the progress of the epidemic through daily counts of confirmed cases, hospitalizations, patients in ICU and deaths, the next steps will be an evaluation of the impact of the epidemic and its restriction measures on health and societies in large and life after the epidemic. In Finland, the Prime Minister’s Office has appointed a preparation group to prepare a plan for Finland’s way out of the COVID-19 crises and provide post-crises measures, and a scientific panel  to provide evidence-based support for this preparation group.

Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has prepared a rapid impact assessment about the effects of COVID-19 epidemic on the population's service needs, the service system and the economy. As part of the ongoing sero-prevalence study, a short web-based questionnaire has been administered to learn more about quality of life, functional capacity, use of health and social care services for non-covid related health issues (e.g. chronic conditions), smoking and alcohol use, etc. This information, together with several other initiated and planned research projects will provide information about long term effects of the COVID-19 epidemic and helps to plan mitigation measures for their possible adverse effects.

More information   Press release 1    Press release 2    Rapid Impact Report (Abstract in English)


Competence Network Public Health on COVID-19

The Competence Network Public Health on COVID-19 is an ad hoc association of more than 25 scientific societies and associations in the field of public health. We combine our methodological, epidemiological, statistical, social science, population health and medical expertise. Together we represent several thousand scientists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

We aim to make interdisciplinary expertise on COVID-19 quickly and flexible available to support current discussions and decision-making. For this purpose, scientific findings are compiled, processed and disseminated in a comprehensible format. Depending on the topic and target group, we use different formats such as framework papers, fact sheets or policy briefs.

The compiled information is primarily aimed at authorities, institutions and political decision-makers.

Our work is currently divided into the following working groups: modelling, ethics, indirect health impacts of infection control measures, health impacts of social isolation, risk communication and perception, vulnerability, health and work, efficacy and side effects of non-pharmacological interventions (NPI), health literacy, requirements for the German health care system, transition strategies.

More information


In the Czech Republic, comprehensive COVID-19 monitoring system has been established, including information on COVID-19 confirmed cases, their medical history, general inpatient / intensive care, and outcome. This system is fully integrated to the Czech National Health Information System, including registries on hospitalisations, reimbursed care, etc., throughout the Czech healthcare system. This setting will allow the Czech Republic to monitor not only status of the epidemic, but also potential long-term health outcomes of recovered COVID-19 patients. Information on current status of epidemic are available on-line at: The website include not only set of tables and visualisations, but also allow the user to download various open datasets. The information system is also used for prospective analytical modelling and early warning system for public stakeholders.

Contact: Ondřej Májek


Estimating the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19 using a Burden of Disease assessment

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, members of the COST Action European Burden of Disease Network (CA18218) have published a pre-print article identifying population vulnerability to COVID-19 in European countries using a burden of disease approach. Further planned work in the network is focused on assessing Years Lived with Disability (YLD) and Years of Life Lost (YLL) to premature mortality to estimate Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) directly due to COVID-19. Estimating DALYs directly caused by COVID-19 is an important step in being able to quantify and assess the direct and indirect impact COVID-19 has had on population health. The indirect mechanisms upon which COVID-19 and social distancing will have on overall health and inequalities in health has been illustrated by Douglas et al (2020), for example due to changes in social and health related behaviours and disruption to essential services. Integration of impact assessments in a burden of disease framework allows for scenario-based models to measure, in a comparable and equitable manner, the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19, alongside the burdens caused by other common health problems.

Contact: Grant Wyper ( (Scottish Burden of Disease study)


Selected resources

Papers & reports :


Web-based resources & projects:




Join Us!

Would you like to share your own national or regional experiences, or would you like to further discuss monitoring the wider effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on population health?

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