Public Health Problems associated with Informal Settlements around Waterfront Communities in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Current Journal of Applied Science and Technology,
Port Harcourt municipality, southern Nigeria, is faced with environmental problems with slums and informal settlements communities, ranging from use of poor and overstressed facilities and inadequate water and electricity supplies and lack appropriate garbage disposal facilities and good drainage systems resulting in perennial flooding due to blocked drainage systems resulting in a number of diseases, such as malaria, diarrhea, cold and cough. Communities are densely populated, with more than five people living in a room. Therefore this study was carried out to assess the public health status of slums/ informal settlements in Port Harcourt Municipality in Rivers state. The study utilized a mixed-method approach. A cross-sectional survey questionnaire and in-depth interview were used to collect data. A total of 180 Questionnaires were distributed across the five (5) selected waterfronts communities in the survey and key informants were interviewed to obtain detailed information about the status of the various communities in the Informal settlements studied. The results of the study revealed that the most prevalent illnesses in all Slums/Informal Settlements were malaria, typhoid, dysentery, diarrhea, coughing, worm infestation, and skin infection. The prevalence rate of infectious disease recorded for all slums/Informal settlements show that Malaria had 15-17%; Typhoid fever14-16%, Diarrhea 11-13%, Dysentery 12-14%, Cough 5-10%, Worm infestation 8-11% and Skin infections 2-4%. However, Malaria remains the foremost killer disease in Nigeria. It accounts for over 25% of under 5 mortality, 30% childhood mortality and 11% maternal mortality. These results suggest that people living in slums are predisposed to severe outbreak of epidemics, therefore requires an urgent attention for comprehensive interventions from the government and other organizations to strengthen existing programs to improve the public health and quality of life of this vulnerable population.
- Public health
- slums/informal settlements
- environmental pollution
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