Home > Global > International Conference on Urban Health – Oct. 27-29, 2010

International Conference on Urban Health – Oct. 27-29, 2010

9th Annual International Conference on Urban Health from October 27-29 at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City.  

The meeting begins Wednesday, October 27 and will end on Friday, October 29. The conference will consist of plenary sessions, concurrent sessions and poster presentations. The principal theme to be addressed at the Ninth International Conference on Urban Health will be good governance for healthy cities, with special interest in the positive consequences in urban health interventions, as well as the social and public health policies that are required to address these issues.

3 examples of  presentations at the 9th International Conference on Urban Health include:

1 – Myths and Realities of “Killer in the Kitchen” in Marginalised Areas of Nigeria, Akintan O.B. University of Nottingham, School of Geography, Nottingham, United Kingdom

The use of biomass fuels for cooking and lighting has contributed to the problem of dirt hanging in the roofs and walls of households, especially in the most marginalised areas of LDCs. This can contribute to a variety of health problems including respiratory diseases, cataracts and low birth weight. Rural migrants in Nigeria have been living with silent killer in their homes, though most households using biomass fuels are not adequately informed of impending dangers of being exposed to pollutants from its burning. Factors such as poverty, socio-cultural beliefs and ideologies further contribute to this challenge in marginalised environment. An overview of Nigeria energy policies reveals the non promotion of cleaner energy/stoves for a healthy kitchen environment.

The focus of this paper is in the assessment of how the Nigerian government can raise public awareness of cleaner energy/stoves through formulation of achievable policies that can combat this overlooked ‘-silent killer-‘ in homes, and at the same time making the Millennium Development Goals attainable. It is argued that the formulation of policies alone cannot sufficiently solve the problem, but attitudes towards the use of fuels needs to be considered. Moreover, an understanding of the unique socio-cultural and environmental context of individual households will be highlighted as being of vital importance.

2 – Decreased Waterborne Illness in Urban Slums through Infrastructure Upgrading with a Public-Private Partnership, Butala N.1, Chatterjee M.2, Patel R.B.3,4. 1Yale Medical School, New Haven, United States, 2Self Employed Women’s Association, Ahmedabad, India, 3Harvard Medical School, Emergency Medicine, Boston, United States, 4Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Cambridge, United States

As the urban population grows, so does the proportion of these persons living in slums where conditions are deplorable. These conditions concentrate health hazards leading to higher rates of morbidity and mortality. This growing problem creates a unique challenge for policymakers and public health practitioners. While the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aim to address these conditions and standards for water and sanitation as well as pertinent health outcomes, little evidence on interventions exists to guide policymakers. Upgrades in slum household water and sanitation systems have not yet been rigorously evaluated to demonstrate whether there is a direct link to improved health outcomes.

This study aims to show that slum upgrading as carried out in Ahmedabad, India led to a significant decline in waterborne illness incidence. The upgrade was part of a public-private partnership between the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. We employ a quasi-experimental regression model using health insurance claims as a proxy for passive surveillance of disease incidence. We find that slum upgrading reduced a claimant’s likelihood of claiming for waterborne illness from 32% to 14% (p-value < 0.05) and from 25% to 10% excluding mosquito-related illnesses (p-value < 0.05). This study shows that upgrades in slum household infrastructure can lead to improved health outcomes and help achieve the MDGs. It also provides guidance on how upgrading in this context using microfinance and a public private partnership can provide an avenue to affect positive change.

3 – Water, Sanitation, and Waste Management in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements – A Situation Analysis on Infrastructure, Knowledge, Behaviors, and Morbidity, Ekirapa A.1, Keidar O.1,2
1APHRC, Health Challenges and Systems, Nairobi, Kenya, 2Hebrew University, Public Health, Jerusalem, Israel

Objective: To describe the water, sanitation, waste management, related behaviors and diarrhoeal morbidity in Nairobi informal settlement communities as a baseline for an intervention.

Methods: 651 households (HH) with 2862 individuals from 3 villages participated in a cross- sectional study that took place between April-May 2010. Inclusion criteria were HH with children aged 5 years and younger. HH heads and individuals aged 12 years and older were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Two types of questionnaires were used (HH and individual). For children aged below 12 years, the HH head was interviewed. Main study outcomes were availability and type of water, sanitation facilities, hygiene and waste management related knowledge and practice, and under five diarrhoea morbidity.

Results: The majority of community members are aware of hygiene and sanitation (91%) and get their information from the media. Only 4% of HH are connected to piped water and 6% have private latrines. Most people use shared pit latrines (47%) and buy water from community taps (63%) and water tanks (29%). Soap (mostly bar soap) is used in the HH for washing clothes (98%) and 60% reported using soap for hand washing. More than half of the respondents cited lack of waste disposal facility as a barrier for hygiene and 56% reported dumping their waste in the river compared to 15% who use a garbage dump. 17% of children aged 5 years and below were reported to have diarrhoea in the past two weeks.

Conclusions: Slums dwellers lack basic water, sanitation and waste disposal facilities, which leads to unhygienic behaviors and high levels of morbidity from diarrhoea among children aged under five years. In order to meet the MDGs, a targeted intervention in this community is needed to improve child health outcomes and to promote water, sanitation, garbage disposal and improved hygiene behaviors.

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