Today marks World Health Day and we are reminded of the impact that safe housing has on health. No one should have to choose between good health and other life necessities.
According to World Health Statistics, for the poorest 20% of people living in large cities, life expectancy is just 55 years old. Many families live in inadequate housing that only make their health problems worse, or in some cases, even cause the illness in the first place. If your own home is making you sick, there’s no escape.
In Diep’s home, water seeped through the roof and crumbled the walls and damaged the electrical wiring. They were in constant fear of being electrocuted. After her children fell ill their home was simply not a place to bring them back to health. It lacked basic facilities like a toilet and a kitchen, and the poor ventilation meant it was always hot and humid.
According to the World Health Organisation, over 800 million people (almost 12 percent of the world’s population) spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child or other family members.
For families that are living to hand to mouth, even medical treatment is a luxury that they can’t afford. This leaves them trapped in the cycle of poverty – without the means to improve their housing situation, children fall sick and are subsequently unable to attend school.
A study in the UK recently demonstrated that poor living conditions increase the risk of severe illness or even disability by 25% during childhood and early adulthood. This is why access to adequate housing is so crucial.
This is the impact that safe housing has on health:
Water and Sanitation
Over 2.2 million deaths in developing countries are associated with lack of access to clean water and inadequate sanitation.
Simply replacing dirt floors with concrete reduces parasite infections by 78%, diarrhoea by 49% and anemia by 81%.
Lack of space and poor ventilation means families are exposed to household pollution like carbon monoxide when cooking.
Families are left to live in damp, moldy conditions after their homes are flooded by rain which contributes to the development of asthma and other respiratory diseases.
This is why a safe, decent home can provide families with the opportunity for a healthier life. Thanks to your support, we can stop the cycle of poverty and families in need won’t continue to suffer from illnesses that are preventable through access to a healthy and safe home.
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