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A comparison of slums in Dakar, Johannesburg, and Nairobi

August 4, 2010 2 comments

3 – World Bank – Poverty, living conditions, and infrastructure access : a comparison of slums in Dakar, Johannesburg, and Nairobi, 2010.

Full-text: http://go.worldbank.org/7UAGWFWHR0

In this paper the authors compare indicators of development, infrastructure, and living conditions in the slums of Dakar, Nairobi, and Johannesburg using data from 2004 World Bank surveys. Contrary to the notion that most African cities face similar slum problems, find that slums in the three cities differ dramatically from each other on nearly every indicator examined.

Particularly striking is the weak correlation of measures of income and human capital with infrastructure access and quality of living conditions. For example, residents of Dakar’s slums have low levels of education and high levels of poverty but fairly decent living conditions. By contrast, most of Nairobi’s slum residents have jobs and comparatively high levels of education, but living conditions are but extremely bad . And in Johannesburg, education and unemployment levels are high, but living conditions are not as bad as in Nairobi.

These findings suggest that reduction in income poverty and improvements in human development do not automatically translate into improved infrastructure access or living conditions. Since not all slum residents are poor, living conditions also vary within slums depending on poverty status. Compared to their non-poor neighbors, the poorest residents of Nairobi or Dakar are less likely to use water (although connection rates are similar) or have access to basic infrastructure (such as electricity or a mobile phone).

Neighborhood location is also a powerful explanatory variable for electricity and water connections, even after controlling for household characteristics and poverty. Finally, tenants are less likely than homeowners to have water and electricity connections.

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Improved health outcomes in urban slums through infrastructure upgrading

July 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Soc Sci Med. 2010 Jun 16.

Improved health outcomes in urban slums through infrastructure upgrading.

Butala NM, Vanrooyen MJ, Patel RB. Yale School of Medicine, USA.

The world is rapidly urbanizing with over half the population now living in urban areas. 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. We employ a quasi-experimental regression model using health insurance claims (for 2001-2008) as a proxy for passive surveillance of disease incidence.

We found that slum upgrading reduced a claimant’s likelihood of claiming for waterborne illness from 32% to 14% and from 25% to 10% excluding mosquito-related illnesses. 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.

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