Design that Heals Documentary


Photo: GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Trailer

Design that Heals Trailer

After a catastrophe, how can we heal a community?

Dr. Jean-William Pape, Haitian infectious disease specialist and Director and Founder of Les Centres GHESKIO, has dedicated his career to combating diarrheal diseases that harm and kill Haiti’s poor.

In 2010, a large-scale earthquake devastated Haiti and its already weak public infrastructure. UN peacekeepers were brought in as part of the emergency response. Among them were soldiers from Nepal where cholera is endemic. Contaminated sewage from their camp leaked into water sources used for bathing and drinking. What ensued was one of the world’s worst cholera outbreaks in over a century.

Desperate to help, Les Centres GHESKIO set up and operated temporary cholera treatment tents for two years in order to care for the thousands who fell sick. The tents were miserably hot in the Haitian climate and difficult to keep sanitary. As the spread of cholera continued, GHESKIO realized that patient waste collected from tents being taken off site for treatment was actually being dumped back into the environment, contaminating groundwater and re-infecting people.

Dr. Pape worked with MASS Design Group to design a project that used the construction process to address the underlying structural and social conditions that allow cholera to thrive.

This documentary tells the story how GHESKIO and MASS Design Group invested both in long-term infrastructure and the Haitian people to heal the community.

Design that Heals is an official New York 2016 Architecture and Design Film Festival selection. Screenings will be held during the festival on September 29th and October 1st.