Group | Household Health Systems

The Household Health Systems research group focuses on in environmental health and health systems research. We consider the perspective of the household at the interface to the health and social system in socio-ecological environments in the global South and North. The intention is to discover how household health practices and behaviours can be better integrated with formal public services and become integral and supported parts of the health system and programme.    

Research in the South

In the context of the South, the purpose of our research in two South American and five African countries is to link marginalised and rural (high altitude) communities with an effective higher-level health system by improved engagement of householders and community level health workers. The intention is to discover how household health practices and behaviours but also environmental and health intervention can be better integrated with formal public services and become integral and supported parts of the health system and programmes.

Research in Switzerland

In the Swiss context, we investigate processes that link human behaviour, illness experience, and health seeking on the one hand and the physicians’ behaviour, case management, and diagnostic and treatment strategies as well as the diagnostic practices of laboratories on the other hand; all those factors are influencing disease reporting and shape the so-called “burden of illness pyramid”. Our research on food- and waterborne disease epidemiology and control including on acute gastroenteritis, campylobacteriosis and Legionnaires’ disease fosters the understanding of the aforementioned processes.

Patient Pyramid

We apply this model to depict our multiple research projects in the field health systems research on infectious diseases in Switzerland. 

WHO and 14 collaborating research institutions have estimated that 842,000 diarrhoea deaths in low- and middle- income countries can be attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene. This amounts to 1.5% of the total disease burden and 58% of diarrhoeal diseases.

The Household Health Systems group has contributed substantially to this series.

For more information: WHO Programme "Water Sanitation Health"

Early child development intervention at household level
Improved kitchen environment with running water, sink and improved cookstove.

Hartinger S.M, Nuño N, Hattendorf J, Verasteugi H, Ortiz D, Mäusezahl D. A factorial cluster-randomised controlled trial combining home-environmental and early child development interventions to improve child health and development in Andean Peru: rationale, trial design and baseline findings. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2018(in press). DOI: 10.1101/465856

Moreo M, Tüshaus L, Zhang J, Hartinger S.M, Mäusezahl D, Karlen W. Physiologically driven, altitude-adaptive model for the interpretation of pediatric oxygen saturation at altitudes above 2000 m a.s.l.. J Appl Physiol. 2018(in press). DOI: 10.1101/334482

Schmutz C, Mäusezahl D, Jost M. Hepatitis A in Switzerland: an analysis of 29 years of surveillance data and contemporary challenges. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2018(in press). DOI: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2018.07.012

Schmutz C, Mäusezahl D. The burden of gastroenteritis in Switzerland (BUGS) study: a research proposal for a 1-year, prospective cohort study. BMC Res Notes. 2018;11:816. DOI: 10.1186/s13104-018-3916-2

Zinsstag J et al. Climate change and One Health. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2018;365(11):fny085. DOI: 10.1093/femsle/fny085