ARCHIVE is currently in the early stages of a new project in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
In Cameroon, 50% of deaths among under-fives are due to malaria. In the capital Yaoundé, 85% of settlements are considered informal. ARCHIVE recognizes the link between this high mortality rate and the state of housing. We are therefore targeting communities of urban poor to reduce malarial mosquito exposure by housing innovations.
Data from 2004 showed that only 11% of under-fives in Cameroon slept under mosquito nets and only 1% slept under insecticide treated nets. However when netting could be incorporated into ceiling design, as in one Gambian study, exposure to mosquitoes dropped by 85%. Screened doors, windows and eaves, combined with adequate ventilation, sewage, and drainage solutions, prevent the proliferation of vector mosquitoes in the home and the community, reducing the incidence of malaria. Despite the evidence for housing as a prevention strategy against malaria, very little has been done to put these strategies into practice.
The Building Malaria Prevention Campaign was launched on World Malaria Day 2012. Working in partnership with MC-CCAM (Malaria Consortium – Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria), the Ecole Supérieure Spéciale d’Architecture du Cameroun, as well as local organizations, builders, and public health officials, ARCHIVE organized an international design competition with more than 80 participants from architecture, urban planning, and public health. The goal was to gather inexpensive vector control design solutions and implement them at an informal settlement Minkoameyos, just outside Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Two winning designs were chosen, and a workshop was held in March 2013 in order to further adapt them to the feedback of local residents and builders. A further outcome of the project will include ongoing awareness and capacity-building activities, with an emphasis on skills training for housing improvements and health workshops on malaria prevention. Finally the evaluation phase, which will continue into 2014, will consist of controlled trials to assess the effectiveness of the implemented housing designs in lowering vector populations and malaria incidences.