In every government around the world, proper housing for its citizens is a crucial responsibility. There is a reason why housing or say shelter is one of the basic needs. Substandard housing has been associated with many health problems calling for resilience among public health practitioners.
What are the effects of substandard housing?
Substandard housing features things such as unsafe drinking water, improper waste disposal, disease factors such as rats and insects, and overcrowding. Its heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is disheartening.
Some of the diseases human beings suffer from are due to poor housing and sanitation. For instance, crowded homes are likely to have many cases of TB and other respiratory diseases. Inadequate ventilation encourages indoor moisture. Leaks in the plumbing system mean cold living environments and even growth of molds. Now, how can someone who has bronchitis or tuberculosis survive in such a place. An asthma patient cannot stand a cold house. It worsens the condition.
When a building has spaces in the walls, it invites pests to live in them. If a house has no heating system, then the winter is unbearable for its occupants. Imagine living with a tobacco smoker and the house has poor air circulation. A broken window or door lets in cold air, smoke, dust and other things moving around in the air.
Think of an old carpet that is dirty and dusty. It brings about unwanted allergies and respiratory problems that could be prevented if only the carpet was clean and vacuumed often. It is all about proper housing.
Injuries from the substandard housing can change your life in a negative way. You may develop disabilities that you never imagined getting. Unprotected story windows, dangerous stairs construction, inadequate or no lighting, and slippery surfaces are hazardous.
Slippery floors cause falls. Without outdoor lighting, criminals and violent people have a haven to conduct their socially inacceptable acts. Mugging or robbery gone wrong has landed many in uncalled for physical conditions. If only proper housing was accessible to all.
c) Nutrition and child development
No one willingly lives in a substandard house. It is usually because one has no choice and probably income is low. If an individual struggles to pay rent, what about food? It is likely that the person has a family and children to feed as well. Nutrition in such a home can be a problem.
Having three balanced meals daily might be impossible. This hurts children a lot. They may grow up malnutritional or develop other health problems. Dirty water causes diarrhea, which is fatal in kids. The Place of Public Health in Promoting Proper Housing
a) Public education and awareness
Public health professionals educate people on the importance of maintaining healthy living environments. This way, they create awareness especially among individuals who have no idea they are living in unsafe houses.
Advocacy is about speaking for people who cannot speak for themselves to make a difference. Public health officers have the power to improve housing because they understand the sector well and know where and whom to go for help. If a company does not listen to locals, they could give an ear to health officers.
This has to do with working with the locals to cause change. It is more effective when people unite towards a common course. Public health workers can mobilize people and encourage them to improve their indoor and outdoor environments. Besides, they have a network of people to ask for resources such as politicians, business people and other influencers.
People should seek help from health departments in their areas. They offer home inspection services and determine biological and toxic exposures. Consultation keeps the community safe, therefore, improving their lives. The door-to-door visits are helpful in ensuring healthy living conditions.
To sum things up, substandard housing poses three types of hazards physical, biological, and chemical. The three affect a person’s psychological well-being. For example, a tall building with no common area set aside for people to interact may cause occupants of the premise to live isolated lives.
There is a lot that the public health sector can do to boost housing. It will help save people from preventable diseases, prevent injuries and ensure children grow up strong and healthy.