Case Story


Click here to read the full case story (in Spanish)

Initiative Name:
Health surveillance among populations exposed to mercury in Amazon Basin countries
Initiative Status:
Completed and consolidating results
Adaptation, replication or scaling up of a previous initiative?
Modality of the initiative:
Environmental Health, Sustainable Development and Intersectoral Action
Mercury, Mercurio

Geographic Identifiers

Countries Leading or Providing Technical Cooperation:
Countries Demanding Technical Cooperation:
Participating National Institutions, Organizations and/or Subregional Entities:
Ministerio de la Protección Social de Colombia, Instituto Minamata, Ministerio de Salud de Venezuela, Ministerio de Salud de Suriname, Agencia Japonesa de Cooperación Internacional (JICA), Ministerio da Saúde Fundacao Nacional da Saúde (FUNASA), Asociación de Universidades Amazónicas (UNAMAZ), Universidad de Brasilia, Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA), Instituto Evandro Chagas (IEC), Organización do Tratado de Cooperación Amazónica (OTCA), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Ministerio de Salud y Deportes del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia, Instituto Nacional de Salud Ocupacional (INSO), Laboratorio de Calidad Ambiental de la Universidad Mayor de San Andres, Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS), Universidad de Antioquia, Universidad de Cartagena, Secretaria Distrital de Salud de Bogotá, Secretaría Departamental de Salud del Guainía, Corporación Autónoma Regional de Nariño (CORPONARINO).
Participating International and Multilateral Organizations:
Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS), Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS)
Initiative Start Date:
Initiative End Date:

Initiative Cost/Budget and Sources of Funding

Initiative Total Cost/Budget: (in US$)
Percentage Contributed by National Governments:
Brasil: 38.20%, Bolivia: 1.12%, Colombia 1.12%
Percentage Contributed by 3rd party sources:
OPS Brasil/Colombia/Bolivia: 53.93%, JICA:3.93%, PNUMA:0.56%

Initiative Description

Mercury is a natural metal that is inherently toxic to humans, and when it is ingested or inhaled it attacks the nervous system. Mercury’s toxicity depends on the level of one’s exposure to it, and alarmingly mercury is widely distributed and used throughout different regions of the world in a variety of key industries, including mining. Countries in the Amazon basin have discovered shared public health problems associated with high levels of exposure to mercury, particularly in the areas where gold mining is concentrated. To address this issue, a technical cooperation project was undertaken between Brazil, Bolivia, and Colombia with the goal of jointly establishing a health surveillance system for populations exposed to mercury. Through various trainings, technical meetings, and knowledge exchange activities, the base for the surveillance system and its indicators were developed; instruments for case reporting were harmonized; and the capacity of laboratories to analyze environmental and biological samples was developed. Some concrete products that came out of this cooperative effort were a technical document on the collection of environmental and biological samples as well as analytical laboratory methodologies for quantifying levels of mercury. The document was published in Portuguese and Spanish, entitled “Technical cooperation among Brazil, Bolivia, and Colombia: theory and practice for strengthening health surveillance among populations exposed to mercury”(Original name in Spanish: “Cooperación Técnica entre Brasil, Bolivia y Colombia: Teoría y Práctica para el Fortalecimiento de la Vigilancia de la Salud de las poblaciones expuestas al mercurio”). The publication includes regional strategies, sampling techniques and preventive analytical methodologies.

Click here to read more about the project/initiative (in Spanish)

Additional Material:

Links and Additional Resources:

Contact Information:

Name of Contact Person:
Sr. Alysson Feliciano Lemos, Asesor de Salud Ambiental y Desarrollo Sostenible
Organización Panamericana de la Salud
Unidade Técnica de Desenvolvimento Sustentável e
Saúde Ambienal - OPAS/OMS no Brasil
Setor de Embaixadas Norte , Lote 19
70800-400 Brasília/DF, Brasií

Additional contact:
Teófilo Monteiro, Asesor OPS- Colombia
Organización Panamericana de la Salud

Additional contact:
Ing. Henry Hernández, Asesor OPS
Organización Panamericana de la Salud

Additional Contact Information:
Contrapartes Nacionales Colombia: Marcela Varona Uribe - Instituto Nacional de Salud; Sonia Mireya Díaz Instituto Nacional de Salud; Ruth Marien Palma - Instituto Nacional de Salud; Ligia Morales Zuleta - Instituto Nacional de Salud Brasil: Marcelo Segalerba - Ministerio de la Salud; Jorge Machado - Ministerio de la Salud; Marcelo Oliveira Lima -Instituto Evandro Chagas - IEC/SVS Bolivia: Dr. Rafael Cervantes, FUNDACION PLAGBOL; Dr. Guido Condarco, FUNDACION PLAGBOL