Tag Archives: urban health

Slum health is not urban health: why we must distinguish between the two

Slum health is not urban health: why we must distinguish between the two. Econo Times, January 8, 2017.

We live in an urban century. Already more than 50% of the global population lives in urban areas. The United Nations estimates that by 2030 five billion of the world’s population of eight billion will be urban. Most of the growth in urban areas is expected to occur in the developing countries of Africa and Asia, continuing a trend seen in the past decade.

Rapid urbanisation in developing countries has been characterised by an accompanying proliferation of slum areas. Cities such as Nairobi, Kenya; Mumbai, India and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are home to some of the world’s largest slum areas. Sub-Saharan Africa has an especially high number of slum inhabitants: 62% of its urban population lives in slums.

Slums constitute a large part of today’s urban reality and will likely persist as a significant feature in our urban future for decades to come. By 2030, projections indicate that two billion of the global urban population will live in slums, mostly in Africa and Asia.

Despite increased global awareness about the presence and persistence of slums, the health of their inhabitants is a little-studied phenomenon. The health of the urban poor, people with low socio-economic status living in urban areas, is usually conflated with that of slum dwellers. However, health outcomes for these two groups of urban populations often differ given the spatial differences of the areas they live in.

Slums are characterised by densely packed settlements with inadequate provision of services and infrastructure. These include sanitation, water, electricity, waste management and security among others. These conditions expose residents of slum areas to the spread of disease and poor health outcomes that are fuelled by their intimately shared environments.

Neighbourhood effects

The mechanism through which densely packed environments affect slum residents’ health is termed neighbourhood effects.

The influence of neighbourhood effects may result in poor health outcomes for slum inhabitants in comparison to non-slum dwellers. Studies done by the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) have shown that child mortality is higher in slums than in non-slum areas and even in rural regions.

Residents of slums are also likely to experience higher rates of undernutrition compared to those from non-slum areas. This may lead to stunted growth and development among children. There tends to be a high transmission rate of infectious diseases in these overcrowded areas because waste collection, water and sanitation are lacking.

Read the complete article.

WASHplus Weekly – World Habitat Day: Focus on Slums

Issue 164 | Oct 3, 2014 | World Habitat Day: Focus on Slums

The first Monday in each October is World Habitat Day. This year the theme is Voices from Slums. This issue of the weekly contains news of upcoming urban events, urban innovation awards, recent urban WASH studies, and other reports and resources on issues faced by the urban poor.


World Habitat Day: Voices from Slums, October 6, 2014Link
Each year World Habitat Day takes on a new theme chosen by the United Nations based on current issues relevant to the habitat agenda. The themes are selected to bring attention to UN-Habitat’s mandate to promote sustainable development policies that ensure adequate shelter for all. This year’s theme, Voices from Slums, is intended to give voice to slum dwellers for improving quality of living conditions in existing slums. This is the UN’s official website for the event. washplusweekly

International Conference on Urban Health, March 9-12, 2015, BangladeshLink
The International Society for Urban Health is an association of researchers, scholars, professionals, community members, and workers and activists from various disciplines, roles, and areas of the world whose work is directly related to the health effects of urban environments and urbanization. The International Conference on Urban Health provides an international forum for information exchange among urban health stakeholders. The theme for the 2015 conference is Urban Health for a Sustainable Future: The Post 2015 Agenda.


USAID/WASHplus Urban Health UpdatesLink
Urban Health Updates contains more than 800 peer-review articles and “gray” literature reports on health issues faced by the urban poor.

Urban Health: It’s Time to Get Moving! Global Health Science & Practice, May 2014. V Barbiero. Link
Policy makers must commit to a long-term action plan that addresses the triple burden of health issues faced by growing urban populations. A comprehensive global urban health strategy is in order; one similar to the global approach to HIV/AIDS, polio eradication, and malaria. The strategy should build on the urban experience, both positive and negative, from all regions of the globe and provide a clear vision and programmatic guidance.

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Urban health studies on dengue, urban sanitation

The latest issue of the Urban Health Bulletin is now on the Environmental Health at USAID website at: http://www.ehproject.org/PDF/ehkm/urban_health-jul_aug09.pdf. (pdf)

This issue contains citations and abstracts of peer-review studies on urban dengue, sanitation and other urban health issues.

If you would like to be on the Urban Health Bulletin mailing list, please send an email to dcampbell@usaid.gov.

Zambia – Street vending contributes to cholera

Government has observed that street vending and unsanitary conditions at public places were some of the major contributing factors to the out break of cholera in the country.

Lusaka Province Minister, Lameck Mangani, said the general public should be mindful of the manner they dispose off refuse in order to avoid and control diarrheal diseases.

Mr. Mangani said this yesterday when a 33 member committee of the Soweto Market Development committee paid a courtesy call on him to urge government to open the market soon.

He has meanwhile, pledged government’s commitment to improving the social sector aimed at uplifting the welfare of Zambians by encouraging them to participate in income generating activities.

He said government would soon work on the access road leading to the new market and establish a bus station in line with Bus Station and Market Act.

Lusaka province minister Lameck Mangani is mobbed by marketeers at the newly erected soweto market when he went to inspect the facility.

Lusaka province minister Lameck Mangani is mobbed by marketeers at the newly erected Soweto market when he went to inspect the facility

Mr. Mangani said government was ready to open the market to the public.

He reiterated that government would ensure that transparency prevails in the allocation of trading spaces especially to those who had their stalls razed down to pave way for the construction of the market.

Earlier, Soweto Market Development Committee Chairperson, Albert Phiri appealed to the government to expedite the commissioning of the market to curb street vending in town.

Mr. Phiri told the minister that his committee had also identified two sites in Lusaka which have about 5,000 trading spaces, adding that one of them has all the necessary social amenities for use by the marketeers.

Yesterday, Mr. Mangani toured the new Soweto market to ensure that everything was in place before President Rupiah Banda commissions it.

Source – Lusaka Times

Urban Health Bulletin, July/August 2008

September 2, 2008
The latest issue of the Urban Health Bulletin (pdf, 81KB) from Environmental Health at USAID features summaries of 5 presentations from the Sustainable City Workshop at World Water Week 2008.

The summaries are:

Planning for Sustainable Environmental Sanitation Infrastructure and Services in Cities, Roland Schertenleib – Eawag/SANDEC, Switzerland
Sustainability of Local Sanitation and Water Supply in Urban Areas – Examples from Eastern Botswana and Periurban Dhaka, Gunnar Jacks et al. – Abo Akademi University, Finland
Towards Cleaner Environment for the Poor in Ranchi Slums: A Case from India, Anjal Prakash – WaterAid, India
Social Issues in the Provision & Pricing of Water Services – Maharashtra, India, Suresh Sodal – Maharashtra Water Regulatory Authority, India
Lessons Learnt of a National Community Based Sanitation Program Facilitated in over 100 Cities in Indonesia, Andreas Ulrich et al. – BORDA, Indonesia

Cameroon: Urban Bilharzia Infection Spreading

Medical officials in Cameroon say bilharzia, a waterborne larvae which causes life-threatening internal damage if left untreated, is rampant in both rich and poor areas of Yaounde and other cities because of poor water and sanitation infrastructure.

“We found that 32 percent of the inhabitants of Mballa I-Dragage, a very high class residential area minutes from the centre of Yaounde, are infected with bilharzia,” said Louis-Albert Tchuem Tchuenté, president of the national programme against bilharzia (PNLSHI).

More – IRIN

Global Risk – Infection By Deadly Bacterium Can Be Prevented With Proper Sanitation

As urban sprawl spreads throughout the globe, so do poor urban ghettos and the infectious diseases that are perpetrated by unsanitary slum conditions. Weill Cornell researchers stationed in the urban slums of Salvador, Brazil, have discovered that certain unhealthy living conditions lead to transmission of leptospirosis, a life-threatening disease caused by the bacterium Leptospira. Over a half-million people are infected, killing 1 in 10, each year. The disease, which is characterized by fever, abdominal pain, and can lead to severe pulmonary bleeding, kidney damage and meningitis, is transmitted through animal contact (commonly rat urine).

Read MoreMedical News Today

Namibia: ‘Flying Toilets’ a Health Hazard in Informal Settlements

Sanitation remains a great concern in the country’s informal settlements as many inhabitants resort to “flying toilets” in their moments of need, observed President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

Flying toilets are plastic bags slum dwellers usually use to relieve themselves after which they discard them onto the streets, alleys, ditches or even rooftops – anywhere out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind, it could be argued – but the toilets seldom remain out of sight.

Read MoreallAfrica