Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (599)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

599. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health the full extent of any research ongoing in relation to the various life-threatening illnesses currently affecting the broadest age profile of the population, children and adults of all ages; the degree to which the origins of such conditions continue to be monitored; the number of incidents compared with those in other jurisdictions throughout Europe; the extent to which any information can be obtained to ascertain the reason for a higher or lower level of conditions in particular regions, nationally and overseas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15422/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Monitoring of population health takes place at a number of levels - nationally, at EU level, and internationally. This includes vital statistics on causes of death, notification of infectious diseases, disease registers, data on hospital discharges, and population-based health survey data. The reasons for higher or lower prevalence and/or mortality by region and across countries can vary according to the condition and can be due to a range of factors. These may include lifestyle determinants, genetic variables, socio-economic factors, demographic variations and a number of other potential explanatory variables. Much of the public health research into major causes of morbidity and mortality is devoted to increasing our understanding of these underlying causes to improve both treatment and prevention.

Health research projects in Ireland, including those related to principal life-threatening illnesses, can take place in many fora including Universities, hospitals, and research projects funded by my Department through the Health Research Board, etc. Information on these research projects is not readily available in my Department.