EQUAL – Housing and health quality assessment

Links between indoor environments and the occupants’ health status

Cities of the Global South are characterized by a greater homogeneity in the quality of housing construction. In some cities, it is difficult to clearly distinguish precarious housing from “regular” neighbourhoods, especially since the coverage and accessibility of basic urban services is sometimes severely deficient throughout the urban territory. This represents a real challenge for measuring the impact of the built environment on the health of inhabitants.The impact of housing on the health of the inhabitants of a city is justified by the considerable amount of time spent at home on a daily basis, for rest, entertainment, or even work, as is the case in many African cities.

This project aims to assess the quality of the indoor environment of dwellings in Lomé, a port city in West Africa. It aims to emphasize intra-urban differences related to different aspects of housing conditions, based on four groups of factors likely to have an impact on the health of the occupants (related to both physical and usage characteristics):

– Thermo-hygrometric well-being;

– Safety of housing and equipment;

– Indoor pollution linked to the fuel used for cooking;

– Access to drinking water and household waste management (solid and liquid).

These categories are the most significant according to the literature, and can also be generalised to all countries in the South, which will make it easier to put the results of our study into perspective. The data were collected in November 2019, through the administration of questionnaires to more than 500 randomly selected households in the 10 cantons of Greater Lomé. The distribution of the residents surveyed between the different sectors of the city was made in proportion to the density of the districts.

The results of the study should clearly establish the link between public health and housing quality, and ultimately lead to operational recommendations to the municipal authorities for targeted improvement in the living conditions of the inhabitants of Lomé.

General information

Team: Andrea Salmi, Armel Kemajou, Jérôme Chenal
Funding: Self-funded (EPFL-CEAT)