Operating Year(s): 2011–2012
Planned Budget: 2011 - $283,500 (2011); 2012 - 310,200
Strategic Priority/Objective: Healthy Communities and Ecosystems/Improved Environmental Health of Vulnerable Communities in North America
Improved indoor air quality: a pilot project to reduce the need for respiratory medical care in severely impacted children in Alaskan Native populations and in other indigenous communities in North America. The project addresses acute and chronic respiratory conditions through interventions to reduce exposure to airborne contaminants in homes.
Studies show that a combination of substandard housing, overcrowding, poor indoor air quality, lack of indoor plumbing, and other environmental factors contribute to poor health outcomes in indigenous populations. Alaskan Natives experience a high burden of acute and chronic respiratory disease. One in four infants from one region of Alaska is hospitalized annually with acute respiratory infections, and hospitalization rates of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants are among the highest ever documented. Bronchiectasis, a chronic lung sequela of severe pneumonia that has nearly disappeared from the developed world, is still common among Alaskan Natives of this region. Similar environmental conditions and health effects are found in indigenous communities in elsewhere in North America.
By 2015, reduce by 30 percent the indoor airborne contaminants, including fine particulates and select chemicals of wood smoke combustion (levoglucosan, abetietic acid, guaiacol and ethylguaiacol), that affect the health of the high risk group of affected children in indigenous communities in specific regions in Alaska. It is expected that the project will be replicated in appropriate communities in Canada and Mexico by 2015.
In 2011–2012, the first stage of this pilot project, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s (ANTHC) Division of Environmental Health Support, which provides comprehensive healthcare and public health services for over 220 Alaska Native Tribes and is the largest Tribally managed health organization in the US, will begin the activities listed to address the need for respiratory medical care among a very high risk group of Alaska Native children. ANTHC will develop a list of potential Alaskan project communities by September 2011. Canada and Mexico would have to develop their lists as well.