Experts call for international guidelines on healthy housing

International guidance on ‘healthy housing’ should be developed to help prevent a wide range of diseases and unintentional injuries that can be effectively addressed through better housing. This was a key message emerging from a global consultation of 40 experts from 18 countries hosted by WHO headquarters in Geneva on 13-15 October 2010. The scientific evidence on the many links between housing and health has grown substantially in recent decades, and can be used to guide ‘primary preventive’ measures relating to housing construction, renovation, use and maintenance. This can promote better overall health.

At the meeting, experts assessed the evidence about risks, as well as needs and priorities in the context of developing guidelines.

WHO/Europe will contribute to the development of the guidelines and is already working on the quantification of the burden of disease associated with inadequate housing conditions in the WHO European Region.