As Assistant Professor of GeoHealth in the Department of Earth Observation Science, with a background in Medical Geography, I conduct research and lecture on the various links between global health and water security in areas of water abundance and water scarcity in rural, urban and indigenous communities in low- and middle-income countries, looking at health promotion (i) through water (e.g. safe drinking water and sanitation) and (ii) from water (e.g. flooding, extreme weather events). I am particularly interested in using of local community knowledge and health risk perceptions to inform health-related decision-making.
Prior to joining ITC, I conducted postdoctoral studies at the Water Institute, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, leading research on water, sanitation, hygiene (SDG 6) and health monitoring in households, schools and healthcare facilities in the context of extreme weather events in Fiji, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, funded by UNICEF and in close collaboration with the governments of the three countries (2018-2020). I gained my PhD at the GeoHealth Centre at the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health, University of Bonn, where I investigated water-related health risks and disease exposures that wetland users, including farmers and nomadic pastoralists, in East Africa are facing, their risk perceptions and their health-related behaviours (2013-2017).
Throughout my career, I conducted consulting projects on water and health with the United Nations (UNICEF, WHO), and with adelphi, GIZ and others.
I work at the intersection of global health, WASH and water security. My research and teaching focus on
- water-related infectious disease exposure and prevention;
- water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH);
- health service provision in areas of water abundance and water scarcity;
- local knowledge, risk perception and behaviour in the context of water and health;
- the cultural context of water, disease and health.
I investigated diverse water-related health issues with international organizations and governments globally. Past research projects include water-related infectious disease exposure, related health risk perceptions, health-promoting and health-seeking behaviours among farmers and pastoralists in wetlands in semi-arid Kenya; the impact of flooding on people living with HIV/AIDS and on health service provision in Northern Namibia; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues in a protracted emergency setting in arid Northeast Nigeria; WASH and the impact of extreme weather events on households, schools and healthcare facilities in Small Island Developing States in the South Pacific; and the WASH situation, cultural context, and obstacles to health improvement among ethnic minority populations in Europe.
I combine qualitative research with quantitative data and have been using mixed methods with a focus on social science approaches to understand and address complex geographies of health issues in data-scarce and difficult-to-access settings.
Anthonj, C., Githinji, S., Höser, C., Stein, A., Blanford, J., Grossi, V., 2021. Kenyan school book knowledge for water, sanitation, hygiene and health education interventions: Disconnect, integration or opportunities? International Journal for Hygiene and Environmental Health 235, 113756.
Manga, M., Camargo-Valero, M.A., Anthonj, C., Evans, B.E., 2021. Fate of faecal pathogen indicators during faecal sludge composting with different bulking agents in tropical climate. International Journal for Hygiene and Environmental Health 232, 113670.
Anthonj, C., Setty, K.S., Ezbakhe, F., Manga, M., Hoeser, C., 2020. A systematic review of water, sanitation, hygiene and environmental health among Roma communities in Europe: Situation analysis, cultural context, and obstacles to improvement. International Journal for Hygiene and Environmental Health 226 (113506).
Cori, L., Bianchi, F., Cadum, E., Anthonj, C., 2020. Risk Perception and COVID-19. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17(9), 3114.
Anthonj, C., Tracy, J.W., Fleming, L., Shields, K.F., Tikoisuva, W.M., Kelly, E.R., Thakkar, M.B., Cronk, R.D., Overmars, M., Bartram, J., 2020. Geographical inequalities in drinking water in the Solomon Islands. Science of the Total Environment 712, 135241.
Fleming, L., Anthonj, C., Thakkar, M.B., Tikoisuva, W.M., Cronk, R. Kelly, E., Shields, K.F., Manga, M., Howard, G., Overmars, M., Bartram, J., 2019. Urban and rural sanitation and hygiene in the Solomon Islands: resilient to extreme weather events? Science of the Total Environment 683, 331-340.
Anthonj, C., Falkenberg, T., 2019. Thirst World? Linking Water and Health in the Context of Development. Book chapter in: Blue Space, Health and Wellbeing: Hydrophilia Unbounded. Routledge. 167-189.
Anthonj, C., Diekkrüger, B., Borgemeister, C., Kistemann, T., 2019. Health risk perceptions and local knowledge of water-related infectious disease exposure among Kenyan wetland communities. International Journal for Hygiene and Environmental Health 222 (1), 34-48.
Anthonj, C., Fleming, L., Cronk, R., Godfrey, S., Ambelu, A., Bevan, J., Sozzi, E., Bartram, J., 2018. Improving monitoring and water point functionality in rural Ethiopia. Water 10 (11), 1591.
Anthonj, C., Githinji, S., Kistemann, T., 2018. The impact of water on health and ill-health in a sub- Saharan African wetland: Exploring both sides of the coin. Science of the Total Environment 624, 1411-1420.
Anthonj, C., Rechenburg, A., Höser, C., Kistemann, T., 2017. Contracting Infectious Diseases in Sub-Saharan African Wetlands: A Question of Use? A Review. International Journal for Hygiene and Environmental Health 220, 1110-1123
Anthonj, C., Rechenburg, A., Kistemann, T., 2016. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Wetlands. The Case of Ewaso Narok Swamp, Kenya. International Journal for Hygiene and Environmental Health 219 (7), 606-616.
Anthonj, C., Nkongolo, O.T., Schmitz, P., Hango, J.N., Kistemann, T., 2015. The Impact of Flooding on People living with HIV: a case study from Ohangwena Region, Namibia. Global Health Action 8, 26441.
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In the press
Addressing global GeoHealth challenges with local actions at ITC
Research story: Why we have to learn about WASH in schools
Roofs, rain and life: How to incentivize and implement rainwater harvesting
Roofs, rain and life: Rainwater harvesting for safe water supply and sustainable co-benefits
The time and space of water and health: an interview with Carmen Anthonj, PhD
Water Institute uses data to strengthen WaSH systems in Pacific Island countries