With 58,000 facilities, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is the second largest provider of healthcare in the world. Although strongly tied to sexual and reproductive healthcare, IPPF member affiliates, particularly in the developing world, sometimes provide the only healthcare available to some. To large scale healthcare providers such as IPPF, climate change and its impact are beginning to have an effect on the way in which the provision of healthcare is envisioned. Increasingly aware of its environmental footprint, IPPF has also become interested in how issues of sustainability can impact public health outcomes. In Bolivia, more than 60% of the population lives in poverty. The 10 clinics of CIES, IPPF’s Bolivian affiliate, provide over 30% of the healthcare in the country. This improving CIES’ healthcare delivery system could have significant ripple effects in Bolivian society.
Public Architecture partnered with public health consultant HealthxDesign and green building consultant Simon & Associates to develop a pilot project for CIES that explored how design, particularly sustainable design, can advance CIES’s “triple bottom line”--financial, ecological and social sustainability. This project assessed how to improve the environmental sustainability of CIES specifically through assessing facilities performance as well as related human factors issues (how human behavior can hinder or support sustainability goals). Building on the additional insights from a multidisciplinary expert advisory team, recommendations covered three main areas: 1) building infrastructure, 2) clinic operations, and 3) integrated programming.
In some cases, the team was able to present solutions, from low hanging fruit to more complex strategies. In others, the team helped define next steps and resources that would empower CIES to build a path to finding a solution. The goal of the project was to present strategies that were culturally and financially appropriate. Rather than developing an American healthcare analysis for the Bolivian context, the team wanted to create a framework that CIES could implement within the parameters of their environment. CIES used the report as part of the foundation of their new five year strategic plan.
Public Architecture and HealthxDesign are working with CIES to develop a funding proposal for a comprehensive implementation program based on the framework. The team is also in discussion with IPPF about developing a similar assessment and framework for the larger healthcare network.