The Healthy Living Practices
- 1.Washing a child daily | 2. Washing clothes and Bedding | 3. Removing Waste safely
- 4. Improving Nutrition | 5. Reducing the impacts of over-crowding | 6. Reducing the negative effects of animals, insects and vermin
- 7. Reducing the health impacts of dust | 8. Controlling the temperature of the living environment | 9. Reducing hazards that cause trauma
Safety and the Nine Healthy Living practices
At the heart of the Housing for Health method are the Healthy Living Practices (HLPs).
These link the safety and health of people to the functions of key parts of the house and surrounding living environment. The HLPs are prioritised to maximise the health benefit for any resources used for improvement. On any project there is never enough time or money!
Click on any of the HLPs below for the full explanation from the National Indigenous Housing Guide, 3rd ed.
- Gas explosion and asphyxiation
- Injury from fire
- Structural collapse
Being able to use functioning washing facilities reduces the spread of diseases, including diarrhoeal disease, respiratory disease, hepatitis and infections. The rates of these diseases in some Australian Indigenous communities are as high as in many developing countries and are many times higher than for non-Indigenous children. Diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases, in particular, are the major causes of illness amongst Indigenous children and also play a major role in the malnutrition experienced in the first three years of life.
Waste water leaks and overflows around the living environment can make people sick. Disease-causing bacteria can be transmitted if people or animals come into direct contact with waste water or if the drinking water supply is contaminated with waste water. So removing waste water safely from living areas, and managing it safely around the community, is critical to keeping people healthy.
Poor nutrition is one factor contributing to Indigenous people having high rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and renal disease. Poor nutrition is also a major cause of infectious diseases in children. In remote communities, choosing a healthy diet is complicated by factors such as low incomes, the cost of food, local store management practices and the ability to store, prepare and cook food at home.
Crowded living conditions increase the risk of the spread of infectious diseases, such as meningococcal disease, rheumatic fever, tuberculosis and respiratory infections. In a crowded house it can also be more difficult to access health hardware, such as a working shower, toilet, hot water and washing machines. Increasing house size does not guarantee reduced crowding. Increasing house function does.
- Mosquito borne illnesses,
- Chronic gut parasite carried by dogs,
- Dustmites causing increased levels of asthma,
- Flies carrying trachoma bacteria that impacts on eye health,
- Mice and rats attacking electrical cables and water pipes.
Many small communities, particularly in rural and remote areas, experience problems with dust, caused by either unsealed roads or vacant land in the community or from dust that is blown into the community from surrounding arid, rural or drought affected lands.
Dust causes direct health problems through the irritation of mucosal surfaces and the skin, which contributes to eye diseases, such as trachoma, respiratory disease and skin infections.
Living in houses that are too cold or too hot can contribute to a range of physical illnesses, as well as emotional distress. The young and elderly are most at risk from temperature extremes. Dehydration is a major risk factor for young children.
If houses are poorly designed and constructed, or not well maintained, there is an increased risk that residents may be injured. Elderly people, people with disabilities and young children are particularly at risk. Injuries may require medical treatment or hospitalisation and could result in infections or even disability.