Shortly after the 2010 earthquake leveled Haiti’s capital city, the worst cholera outbreak in 100 years traveled swiftly through Port-Au-Prince’s compromised water infrastructure. As a more permanent solution to the temporary, tented cholera treatment centers that sprang up in response to the epidemic, MASS Design Group designed a new facility for GHESKIO, one of Haiti’s leading cholera-response organizations. Construction of the health and hydration center is estimated to cost roughly half of the annual operation expenses for the treatment tents, and construction materials and fabrication services are to be executed by the local Haitian workforce wherever possible.
To address the cause and surrounding effects of the water-born disease, the GHESKIO center treats waste on site, distributes chlorinated water, and offer diarrheal disease care. An onsite sanitation system will treat more than 250,000 gallons of sewage each year, and a rainwater collection system will store sanitized water to service the building. “We’re using low-tech, passive systems that are easy to maintain with appropriate technologies like an anaerobic biodigestor,” Michael Murphy, CEO of MASS, told AN. And as more cities focus on resilient design, self-sustaining systems are increasingly relevant. “You can’t rely on the broader electrical system in case of a failure,” Murphy added. “In Haiti, only one third of the population has access to modern sanitation, so we learned a system had be localized and resilient to achieve a a higher performing solution.”
Murphy anticipates the center will open within the first quarter of next year.