Safe Homes, Healthy Families

Johan’s family is one of our first MHIP participants. The walls of Johan’s house are currently made of plastic and the floor is dirt.

Johan’s family is one of our first MHIP participants. The walls of Johan’s house are currently made of plastic and the floor is dirt.

We often take our houses for granted. They’re spaces filled with things we use every day without noticing-- plates, water filters (if you live anywhere near Philadelphia), floors that aren’t made of dirt. At Project Limón, we’ve started a Micro Health Insurance Program to turn homes into houses that are healthy environments for families using simple incentives like plates, water filters, and finished floors. Read below to learn more about the program!

 

How does our Micro Health Insurance Program (MHIP) work?

Families who are selected to participate in the program agree to monthly home inspections, monthly pediatric labs, and wellness checks. They also agree to attend weekly talks that are centered around healthy homes and families. Nutrition, hygiene, exercise, and vaccinations are common topics. For each class families attend, each home inspection they pass, and each well child check they complete, the family earns points.

 

What can families do with points?

Points can be redeemed for items that will make their homes safer. From small things like hardware (nails and screws), plates, and other housing materials to larger needs like tin for roofs, water filters, mosquito nets, and, yes, concrete floors. In fact, since the program launched in June, nearly all of the participating families have earned enough points to redeem them for concrete floors in their homes!

 

Why concrete floors?

Concrete floors are a great addition to any home-- they increase the value of the home, they’re easier to clean (have you ever tried to sweep or mop a dirt floor?), and generally speaking, there are no parasites living in concrete. Families who live in homes with dirt floors have a much higher incidence of small children who have parasitic infections, which can cause anything from gastrointestinal issues to malnutrition. In fact, we tested all of the participating children for parasites at the beginning of the program and they all tested positive. Needless to say, we’re almost as excited about these new floors as the families are!

 

How long does the program last?

The families will be in the program for a year. After that, they’ll be charged with going forth and holding their own health talks for families in their neighborhoods.

 

How are families selected?

We currently have five families participating, who were selected in part because they were open to participating, and in part because of the number of visits they’ve made to the clinic to seek treatment for their children.

 

What is the program cost for families?

Given that on average the families participating live on about $100 a month, participation is free. We provide snacks at the meetings and a small fund for necessary medication. In terms of investing in the program, we ask that families provide their own transportation to the weekly events, which costs $1-2.


What outcome is FIMRC hoping for?

Healthier, better educated families. Families who make informed and conscious decisions to do even small things around the house (for example, not leaving uncovered rain barrels near the house and not burning trash next to the house). Kids who grow up healthier and, hopefully, parasite free.