On the six-month anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, the international charity ARCHIVE (Architecture for Health In Vulnerable Environments) launched a campaign to raise awareness of how innovative housing designs can reduce the transmission of airborne diseases such as tuberculosis.
The one-year campaign, entitled Kay e Santé nan Ayiti (Creole for Housing and Health in Haiti), began with a competition calling on architects, engineers, health specialists, and the general public to pool their knowledge and submit housing designs that are sensitive to the local culture and can mitigate TB transmission.
An interdisciplinary panel of judges and the local community will choose five winning designs to be built and showcased in travelling exhibits to universities worldwide and in a ‘best practice’ design development compendium.
According to the World Health Organization, Haiti has the highest TB rate in the Americas. After HIV/AIDS TB is Haiti's greatest infectious cause of death.
Housing can be designed to minimize airborne disease infection. Adjusting the material composition of walls, floors, and roofs in houses can lower humidity, improve ventilation, and increase direct sunlight, which in turn reduces the presence of indoor pathogens.
The campaign will engage local communities on the topic of housing as a vital component of a holistic public health strategy focusing equally on prevention and treatment.
"Housing condition is an important cause of illness but this often has been sidelined in conventional disease control measures. By submitting ideas to our campaign, the global architecture and healthcare community will be taking part in an innovative public health project that makes housing a critical component of disease prevention," said Peter Williams, Founder and Executive Director of ARCHIVE.