Did you know that children living in houses with dirt floors are more prone to disease? Young children crawling and playing on dirt floors are likely to ingest a certain amount of fecal matter, which exposes them to harmful bacteria and parasites. These pathogens can cause a host of potential dangerous ailments including persistent diarrhea, which kills over 750,000 children throughout the world each year.
According to the Center for Global Development, housing upgrades can markedly improve the health and well-being of slum-dwelling children and the women who care for them. Specifically, the results of a remarkable program in Mexico will floor you!
In the year 2000, the “Piso Firme” program was launched in Mexico and has made vast contributions to maintaining a solid foundation for children’s health, as well as the health of their caregivers. Piso Firme, meaning “solid floor,” is an innovative program which replaces the dirt floors with cement ones in the homes of poverty- stricken families.
By the year 2005, Piso Firme had provided more than 34,000 homes with concrete flooring upgrades. In 2006, research indicated that children under six within this program were found to have 20% less parasites, 13% less diarrhea and 20% less anemia. Parental stress and depression in these households was also reduced by 10.5 to 12.5%. Believe it or not, these cement floor upgrades were even found to reduce poverty. The success of this program led to national endorsement and by 2012, the number of dirt to cement floor conversions provided by Piso Firme topped 2.7 million!