Poor housing and living conditions contribute significantly to adverse health outcomes globally, especially among economically disadvantaged groups. Adequate housing is vitally important to the health of the world’s communities, populations, and economies, yet the percentage of people without access to decent, stable housing is rising.
Over ¼ of people in developing countries live in unsuitable housing.
Today, a billion people — 32 percent of the global urban population — live in urban slums. If no serious action is taken, the United Nations reports that the number of slum dwellers worldwide will increase over the next 30 years to nearly 2 billion.
More than 14 million refugees and internally displaced people live in tents or other temporary shelters. (Kissick, et al: 2006)
In a study looking at work done by Habitat for Humanity, children under five living in Habitat for Humanity houses in Malawi showed a 44 percent reduction in malaria, respiratory or gastrointestinal diseases compared to children living in traditional houses. The effect of improved housing on the health of young children was as high as that of water and sanitation programs. (Wolf, et al: 2001)
Housing is a widespread issue that involves much more than simply offering a place to live and sleep. Among the world’s poor, the lack of suitable housing and the challenges of poor health are still being addressed separately. ARCHIVE seeks to build health by improving the physical environment. Improved housing provides shelter from harsh weather, diminishes the threat of insecurity, and grants access to clean water, food, storage and preparation facilities. Less known, is the extent to which improved housing can be implemented as a central part of a holistic public health strategy to prevent illness and deliver health care among the poor. With this in mind, ARCHIVE intends to use one basic need–HOUSING, to deliver one basic right–HEALTH.
Housing quick facts:
• The number of slum dwellers had increased from 776.7 million to in 2000 to some 827.6 million in 2010.
• Sub Saharan Africa has the largest slum population where 61.7% of its urban population lives in slums. (2010)
• Developing countries lifted an annual 22 million people out of slum conditions through upgrading or prevention of informal settlements between the year 2000 and 2010. Based on these trends, the world’s slum population is expected to reach 889 million by 2020.
• Between the year 2000 and 2010, the urban population in the developing world increased by an estimated average of 58 million per annum; this includes 6 million who were not able to improve their conditions and joined the ranks of slum dwellers.
Source: UN Habitat
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