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The Housing First Principle

We’ve heard the same sermon over and over: eat healthy, exercise, don’t smoke etc. But how practical is it all? What does eating healthy really mean to a person without shelter let alone, a fridge to store fruits and vegetables, a kitchen to cook safe and clean meals, and a kettle to improve access to clean drinking water? What does it mean to someone lacking basic needs as well as the storage for those needs?

From this perspective, eating healthy could mean having food in the first place; exercise is not by choice neither is it the preferred route when there is no energy; and smoking, well that could be a luxury.

What if I told you an alliance to end homelessness and provide adequate housing is also an alliance to defeat non-communicable diseases? What if I told you engaging Africans transcends beyond education of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)? What if I said Engaged Africans are not just doctors, they are: architects, construction workers, electricians and plumbers? What if I said their role in building a house can prevent non-communicable diseases? Would you find your place in this fight or remain at ease?

Lack of adequate housing could very well be a risk factor of NCDs and we need action-oriented individuals to join in this fight. We need architects to design, construction workers to build, electricians to install electrical pathways in homes, and plumbers to develop the water system. Providing sustainable and adequate housing to Africans, not only reduces risks of NCDs, but it’s a great step to addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the United Nations for the next 15 years. Imagine Africa in 2030, yes technology would have improved and we might have flying cars, but imagine the population health of the continent when we address root issues such as housing. We all have a part to play, find your place and fight.

 

Africa,

You are not alone.

Your friends in the west,

They experience this mess.

Your friends in the east,

Also have no feast.

 

They’ve created an alliance,

They’ve made it their fight.

They overcame hurdles and created them too.

 

Africa,

You are not alone.

Your enemy is subtle,

Prepare for battle.

“Turn your shovel to swords

And your hoes to spears” (Joel 3:10 MSG)

 

Help the weak,

Encourage the lowly,

Stand interlocked,

Prevent the disease.

Stand Engaged,

Decease the disease.

 

Statistics on homelessness

 

To donate to our health promotion, research and advocacy efforts to stop the growing epidemic of chronic diseases on the African continent, click here.

 

Jadesola is a Health Policy MPH Candidate at Emory University and also an alumna from the University of Calgary's Bachelor of Health Sciences program with a major in Health and Society. She is interested in improving the socioeconomic status of Low-Middle Income Countries by encouraging preventive care in oral health and promoting a trans-disciplinary approach to health.

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