Is sanitation essential to human health? The sanitation issue in the public health field

Abstract Although sanitation problems seem to have been resolved, every day thousands of children around the world die of diseases caused by the lack of it. Nevertheless, sanitation remains virtually invisible in the Brazilian health sector agenda. The objective of this study is to investigate the importance given to this topic by researchers from the public health field. The relevance of the subject was mapped out in CNPq’s research groups, Brazilian scientific journals, and public health graduate programs. The results showed that few of these programs addressed the topic of sanitation. As a consequence, few public health research groups study and publish about sanitation in the journals assessed. The potential factors that could be behind the limited interest in sanitation shown by the public health academic community are discussed.