FROM THE AIA:
When cholera rapidly spread across Haiti in 2010, independently-operated cholera treatment tents were assembled as a short-term response. Over three years later, these facilities remain the mainstays for cholera treatment despite lacking capacity to provide dignified, prevention-oriented, and long-term healthcare. These tents fail to weather the Haitian climate and rely on manual sewage collection that risks human exposure and recontamination of the water table. Meanwhile, 36% of the Haitian population lacks access to an improved drinking water source, and only 28% have access to an improved toilet. Diarrheal disease remains the second leading cause of death for children under five. The GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center (CTC)—the first permanent facility in Port-au-Prince—was designed based on 1) an understanding that Haiti deserves a solution that integrates cholera treatment into existing healthcare infrastructure; and 2) the impending threat that cholera will become endemic in Haiti without a comprehensive solution. With on-site wastewater treatment and purified water integrated into the building’s design, the CTC provides an aggressive model for cholera treatment, while creating a healing space that promotes a dignified patient experience. Additionally, the CTC’s flexible design will maintain a role as an inpatient healthcare center when the need for cholera treatment becomes obsolete.
The craft of design and construction are evident throughout this facility. This is a culturally relevant response to specific community concerns that will have an impact far beyond the act of placing a healthcare building on a site. Sustainability for the environment by addressing the building systems and sustainability for the community by developing worker skills are key attributes that set this project apart. It addresses the functional need in a creative and cultural sensitive way while also providing on the job skills training for the workers who were building it so they will have the employable skills to provide for their families long after this project is complete. The utilization of local resources and embodiment of local culture is powerfully executed. This submission embodies the triple aim of improved quality, reduced cost and expanded population health – acting as both a demonstration of sustainable water technologies and as a training opportunity for the Haitian construction industry. This project holds multiple lessons for healthcare designers of all scales: healing the community as well as the patients through culturally specific, innovative solutions.