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Int J Circumpolar Health. 2016 Apr 29;75:31149. doi: 10.3402/ijch.v75.31149. eCollection 2016.

Improving health in the Arctic region through safe and affordable access to household running water and sewer services: an Arctic Council initiative.

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Arctic Investigations Program, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Anchorage, AK, USA.
Arctic Human Health Experts Group, Sustainable Development Working Group, Arctic Council;
Section of Epidemiology, Division of Public Health, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Anchorage, AK, USA.
Applied Epidemiology Fellow, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Important health disparities have been documented among the peoples of the Arctic and subarctic, including those related to limited access to in-home improved drinking water and sanitation services. Although improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) has been a focus of the United Nations for decades, the Arctic region has received little attention in this regard. A growing body of evidence highlights inequalities across the region for the availability of in-home drinking WASH services and for health indicators associated with these services. In this review, we highlight relevant data and describe an initiative through the Arctic Council's Sustainable Development Working Group to characterize the extent of WASH services in Arctic nations, the related health indicators and climate-related vulnerabilities to WASH services. With this as a baseline, efforts to build collaborations across the Arctic will be undertaken to promote innovations that can extend the benefits of water and sanitation services to all residents.


Arctic Council; development; disease; infectious; sanitation; water

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