Project team members Sue Webb and Emma Weinstein Sheffield published a blog in April 2020 on the implications of COVID-19 for shelter assistance. The current crisis has highlighted already-existing connections between poor shelter and health.
One strand of the research related to the ‘wider impacts’ workstream of the project is concerned with the health aspects of shelter/emergency and transitional housing and on the beneficial impacts that shelter assistance could have on people recovering from natural disaster and conflict. We are aiming to gather knowledge and expertise from others in the shelter sector, as well as those in other humanitarian and development/public health sectors.
The Global Shelter Cluster increasingly recognises the huge numbers affected by shelter and settlement-related health issues and also the fact that, currently, rebuilding guidelines focus on ‘safer’ building regarding earthquake/storm resistance, sidelining or even ignoring potentially important health issues. Perhaps the shelter sector should be incorporating relevant health messages into emergency response and its guidance for disaster-affected populations who are rebuilding? We are therefore interested in investigating further what health related messages might usefully be incorporated into rebuilding guidelines and how those might best be communicated to shelter practitioners in the field and the disaster-affected people themselves. We also need to understand more about how to measure any health impacts of shelter and settlement assistance. What evidence do we need and how can we gather this evidence?
It is clear that one very important health issue strongly related to housing is indoor air pollution and associated respiratory infections (especially pneumonia) – particularly for children and women. We are investigating the extent to which the humanitarian shelter sector can and should influence this and other environmental factors (such as overcrowding, damp, heat and cold, lack of clean water, noise...) that contribute to the burden of disease in crisis situations. We then need to investigate how to incorporate an environmental/health lens into shelter self-recovery guidelines currently being co-developed with crisis-affected populations.
Over 100 participants from development and humanitarian organisations listened to twenty invited speakers on topics related to the connections between housing/shelter and mental and physical health. There were also opportunities for smaller group discussions following up on topics introduced by the speakers.
Introduction from Shelter and Health Multisectoral Learning Day Introduction 14th May 2020 (pdf)Download
Panel 4 Current Crises from Shelter and Health Learning Day (pdf)Download
Panel 3 Mental Health Shelter and Health Learning Day (pdf)Download
Panel 1 Physical Health. Shelter and Health Learning Day (pdf)Download
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UKRI grant number EP/T015160/1
Oxford Brookes University