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Health and livelihood implications of marginalization of slum dwellers in provision of basic services in Nairobi city

Elizabeth W Kimani-Murage, University of the Witwatersrand
Chi-Chi Undie, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Eliya M. Zulu, African Institute for Developpment Policy Research (AFIDEP)

We investigate how inequality in provision of basic services such as water and sanitation affects health and livelihood circumstances of poor residents of Nairobi slums in Kenya. We use qualitative and quantitative data collected through a longitudinal health and demographic surveillance conducted in Nairobi slums by African Population and Health Research Center. Water (32%) and sanitation (20%)were the most commonly reported health needs among slum dwellers. Results also indicate that water and sanitation services are mainly provided by exploitative vendors who charge exorbitantly for their poor services. This results in poor sanitary practices by the community and as a result of the poor environmental conditions and inaccessible health services, slum residents are sicker and consequently more likely to die than other non-slum counterparts including rural dwellers. These results demonstrate the need for change in governments’ policies that deprive the urban poor population of basic services.

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Presented in Session 16: Achieving the MDG targets for water and sanitation