Housing for Good Health, Happy World Health Day!
As the World Health Day is celebrated today, it is worth noting that the theme “our planet our health’’ is a reminder that good health consists of various factors within our environment and that affordable and decent housing is a key determinant of good health.
The housing problem is serious especially for the low income and vulnerable families living in makeshift structures which expose them to diseases due to the poor housing conditions. A house without proper walling for example exposes the residents to extreme weather conditions especially during the rainy seasons when it gets extremely cold. Poorly done and old roofing that leaks exposes the families to respiratory diseases, the dusty floor in most of these houses have also exposed them to other diseases.
Worst still, lack of access to clean water exposes so many families to water borne disease which includes typhoid. Many households in the rural areas rely on water from the rivers that is not treated hence exposing them to various diseases.
With poor housing conditions you can be sure that sanitation is not given consideration, many families lack proper latrines and many of them resort to open defecation leaving them exposed to many diseases and pollutes the environment.
Kenya has a big housing challenge, with an annual housing demand of 250,000 units but with an estimated supply of only 50,000 units, culminating in a housing deficit of 2 million units, or 80% deficit. Housing affordability is a key challenge in the country with many people unable to afford to buy or build their own home.
Adequate housing builds resilience and reduces vulnerability to economic, social and health related and climate shocks and disasters. Habitat for Humanity Kenya has been in Kenya since 1982 providing housing solutions in the country as one of the central players in providing Affordable and Adequate (AA). Habitat for Humanity Kenya envisions a world where each and every person has a decent place to live.
This year as Habitat for Humanity celebrates 40th anniversary in Kenya, we will be constructing 40 houses for 40 orphans and vulnerable households in four counties of Kenya. These houses will come with a water tank, toilet and a bathroom. This will go along way to improve the health indicators for the families and by extension the community by ensuring that they access clean and safe water that will be harvested and stored in the tanks and they will also have proper sanitation.