World Health Organisation
reported in  2017*

 that the highest proportion (24%)

of recorded deaths in the Cox's Bazar refugee camps was due to acute respiratory infections 

 and in children under 5 years this increased to 31%

These deaths from acute respiratory infections are partly due to families living in overcrowded, poorly ventilated shelters that are built low to the ground out of necessity.

The RSK shelter with its higher roof and improved ventilation can potentially reduce the incidence of acute respiratory infection and thereby save  lives.

 

Traditional shelters Cox's Bazar        Photo S.Halbert 2017          

in order to understand the ventilation problem we need to first look at the causes

these shelters, like this field hospital, are stronger and higher and  include effective ventilation at eaves level

they also require skills to build them and use relatively large amounts of bamboo

MSF field hospital ward Cox's Bazar  Photo S.Halbert 2018          

 
in a disaster situation bamboo resources are often limited

 and people have to use a lattice of split bamboo or canes for their shelter roof

the roof has to be built "in place" overhead but is invariably not strong enough to be climbed upon

the result is a realtively weak structure that is built low to the ground

Cox's Bazar  Photo S.Halbert 2017          

this is partly due to the overhanging roof lattice and partly due to the limited amount of bamboo available

it is this difficulty, together with a need for privacy in these low level shelters, that often results in any gaps along the eaves being sealed. This reduces ventilation still further.

Cox's Bazar  Photo S.Halbert 2018          

 when relative humidity exceeds 70% in these poorly ventilated shelters
and the air breathed inside these shelters becomes a serious health hazard

Cox's Bazar  Photo S.Halbert 2018          

the RSK shelter can help to address these ventilation problems
it uses 33% less bamboo than any equivalent shelter

 and only complete bamboo poles are used for the roof frame that is lashed together on the ground before being lifted onto corner posts

making it easier to build a shelter with a higher roof

Cox's Bazar  RSK at MSF field hospital    Photo S.Halbert 2018          

the RSK uses 33% less bamboo than any equivalent shelter

no split bamboo, only complete bamboo poles are used for the roof frame 

the result is a stronger load bearing structure that can be built higher off the ground and  with ventilation gaps at eaves level 

Cox's Bazar  RSK at MSF field hospital    Photo S.Halbert 2018          

each RSK roof frame is supported by 4 corner posts 

unlike a traditionally built shelter there is no roof lattice or central support posts lashed to the side beams

this provides a clear space underneath the eaves that facilitates the building of  ventilation gaps

this high level "through ventilation" creates a much healthier living space

and the effect is enhanced by the ability of the RSK roof to support a layer of insulation and make a cooler shelter

Diagram to illustrate eaves level ventilation in an RSK shelter       

Cox's Bazar  Photo S.Halbert 2017          

by improving ventilation the RSK can help to reduce the incidence of acute respiratory infections and save lives

setting up an RSK shelter pilot that includes evaluating this improved ventilation is now our priority
please contact Shaun Halbert for the full medical and technical details