Professor and her students design healthcare clinic in Haiti

by Sydney Green

 

Three generations of interior design students revealed plans for a sustainable healthcare clinic in Haiti Tuesday.

The clinic will sit in place of a separate center that was nearly destroyed when Haiti faced a massive earthquake last January.

Professor Nadia Volchansky said the designs focus on sustainability as green initiatives often incur higher costs and is often neglected in developing nations.

"We felt that innovation and sustainability was the solution for physical facilities in Haiti in order to have a promise of longevity," Volchansky said.

The clinic, now in its fundraising phase, is projected to cost about $250,000. Volchansky said she expects funding to come from grants and private donations.

The design consists of five separate buildings, in line with Haitians' preference for smaller, open spaces, rather than intimidating the general public with a large, foreign structure, Volchansky said. One of the buildings - an education center - will host seminars and play videos for waiting patients.

The facility now handles over 120 patients, despite damages from the earthquake, and employs about 100 healthcare workers from the community.

University of Miami professor Arthur Fournier, co-founder of the nonprofit Project Medishare, which seeks to provide resources for Haiti's development, spearheaded the creation of the clinic GW's project will replace.

Fornier said the Haitian community is devastatingly poor, with an average household income of roughly $200 yearly. Healthcare workers have only recently become a facet of the Haitian workforce.

"Before, one in five kids died before age 5. We decreased this percentage to one in 10," Fornier said. "Bringing healthcare to a community like this really makes a difference."

Volchansky said the main goal of the project is to provide medical services and economic stimulation simultaneously.

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