This year, World Metrology Day marks the 146th anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention on 20 May 1875.
The theme for World Metrology Day 2021 resonates across the globe as metrology communities maintain efforts to support the protection of public health systems and citizens impacted by the crisis. Measurement solutions have proven to be critical at this pivotal time in history, and so here at WELMEC and EURAMET, we would like to extend our huge thanks to the metrology community on World Metrology Day.
World Metrology Day 2021
All the way back in the 19th century, the signing of this convention started a process that eventually led to the metrological structure and the International System of Units (SI) that we have today. As of January 2020, the list of the original 17 signatories has now grown to 68 member states and 40 associated states – covering around 98% of the world economies.
Every year, the measurement community celebrates this anniversary with a new theme; where the focus of World Metrology Day 2021 on 20 May this week is measurements for health. Opportunely timed for a world that is recovering from the devastating impacts of a global pandemic, the day provides an opportunity to shed light on the essential role of metrology in supporting healthcare. High-quality health services are, after all, reliant on the availability of reliable and accurate measurements.
European measurement community collaborating on measurements for health
In the last few decades, tremendous efforts have been made to improve the reliability and accuracy of measurements in the health sector. Led by WELMEC and EURAMET, the European measurement community has collaborated in legal metrology and metrology research, combining efforts to meet the high measurement demands of health services.
Measurements support the precise diagnosis, safe and effective treatment, and the thorough assessment of new medical techniques. From the quantification of infectious agents for the improved diagnosis of tuberculosis, to radiation dose measurements for the safe delivery of ultrasound cancer treatments; metrology is instrumental in supporting clinicians with the diagnosis, treatment and even prevention of illnesses and diseases.
During the past two years, where healthcare institutions have been facing immense pressures due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the measurement community has increasingly turned its attention to addressing new and unprecedented healthcare challenges. Under the collective umbrella of EURAMET and WELMEC, European metrology institutes have pooled together their resources to develop new methods and concepts for meeting changing national needs; such as setting up systems to test masks for personal protection, helping to design new ventilator systems for hospitals, and measuring the efficacy of vaccine doses.
“The EURAMET community is and has been very active in fostering metrology for healthcare. So far, there are more than 40 collaborative metrology research projects in the field of health within the European Metrology Research Programmes, EMRP and EMPIR. Related Technical Committees provide fundamental support and our European Metrology Networks – such as the network for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine – continue to engage with key stakeholders to understand the measurement needs of the health sector”, comments Hans Arne Frøystein, EURAMET Chairperson.
Pavel Klenovský, the Chairperson of WELMEC, adds to this: “Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic brought its own pressures, but it has also drawn attention to other existing issues with healthcare systems as a whole. Until recently, it has mostly just been European-wide legal metrology that has concentrated on medical devices with measuring functions, but now, legal metrology authorities across the world have shown great interest in these issues as well. It therefore seems reasonable to assume that interest in legal metrology for medical devices and healthcare will only continue to grow.”