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Unformatted text preview: 886 Bull World Health Organ 2009;87:886 | doi:10.2471/BLT.09.073445 Editorials Slums, climate change and human health in sub-Saharan Africa Brodie Ramin a a Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8M5, Canada. Correspondence to Brodie Ramin (e-mail: [email protected]). Sub-Saharan Africa is the least urban- ized region in the world. Only 39.1% of the region’s population lives in cities. 1 However, the region’s urban popula- tion is projected to more than double to 760 million by 2030. 1 The rate of urbanization makes it very challenging to manage. A recent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine argued that urbanization is a “health hazard for certain vulnerable populations, and this demographic shift threatens to create a humanitarian disaster.” 2 Urbanization in Africa is linked to poverty. Globally, nearly 1 billion people live in slums, and this number is projected to double to 2 billion in the next 30 years. 3 The United Na- tions Human Settlements Programme (UNHABITAT) defines a slum as an urban area with a lack of basic services (sanitation, potable water, electricity), substandard housing, overcrowding, unhealthy and hazardous locations, insecure tenure and social exclusion. 3 In sub-Saharan Africa, 71.8% of urban dwellers live in slums, the highest proportion in the world. 4 Over the coming decades, the effects of climate change will also be progressively felt across the African continent. Climate change and urban- ization will interact, with unpredictable effects. The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that “urbanization and climate change may work synergistically to increase disease burdens.” 5 A significant share of ill health in slums stems from poor access to sanita- tion and clean drinking water. In 2000, 30–50% of African urban dwellers lacked a safe water supply....
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This note was uploaded on 02/03/2011 for the course EEP 153 taught by Professor Marsh during the Spring '11 term at Berkeley.
- Spring '11