Health and Environmental Sanitation

Health is not one of the benefits of sustainable development: it is a prerequisite. Providing for the future of coming generations can only be achieved by strengthening the resilience of present generations. Vulnerability to disease is one of the most formidable obstacles faced by populations trying to escape the cycle of poverty and resource depletion.

Access to a safe water supply and to proper sanitation facilities has proved to be the single most important factor in promoting health and combatting disease among the poor. NCCR North-South research in this area is aimed primarily towards finding ways to integrate effective health and sanitation strategies into participatory planning processes. Interdisciplinary research is conducted by experts in epidemiology, medical anthropology, and environmental engineering in cooperation with researchers and practitioners in the fields of household and institutional socio-economics.

Research centers around three central themes:

Promising health and sanitation intervention approaches are explored in "partnership actions" for scaling-up at the village, district or national levels.



Vulnerability and Resilience
NCCR North-South Research on vulnerability and resilience focuses on diagnosing deficiencies in existing environmental sanitation services and identifying the ways in which people cope with those deficiencies. A central aspect of this research lies in determining the priorities of the users for improvements in environmental sanitation services. Within this context, sensitivity to the role of gender in establishing priorities is of fundamental importance. >>more


Environmental Sanitation
Safe drinking water and adequate environmental sanitation are preconditions for health and for success in the fight against poverty, hunger, child deaths and gender inequality. They are also central to the human rights and personal dignity of every human being. The adverse impacts of poor environmental sanitation can extend well beyond the direct impacts on health. >>more

Disease Reduction
Equity-effective Interventions to Reduce the Burden of Disease: This composite approach will consider different dimensions of poverty and deprivation, the most vulnerable urban populations and their existing resilience strategies. In conjunction to the research theme "Determinants of Vulnerability and Resilience" environmental monitoring is extended to tackle spatial patterns of disease risks (with malaria, HIV/Aids and diarrhoea as lead diseases) in poor urban environments. >>more



NCCR North-South Research on Health and Sanitation is conducted in the following regions and countries:

Central Asia: Tajikistan
South Asia: Bangladesh, India, Nepal
Southeast Asia: China (Yunnan Province), Laos, Thailand, Vietnam
West Africa: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Mauretania, Senegal
Horn of Africa: Ethiopia
East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania
Central America & the Caribbean: Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico
South America: Argentina, Bolivia




Marcel Tanner, Head
Swiss Tropical Institute (STI), Basel, Switzerland

Roland Schertenleib, Deputy head
Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland

Patricia Schwärzler, Coordinator
Swiss Tropical Institute (STI), Basel, Switzerland