HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT

Climate change is a global threat to human existence; Countries across the world are putting measures in place to mitigate its effect. Slum communities are more vulnerable to the adverse effect of climate change and most often, human activities in these communities poses a threat. Urban slums are faced with a myriad of challenges as residents are susceptible to different health hazards in the face of polluted environment.

Open defecation creates quite a lot of health risk and this is very common in slum settlements as a result of the housing pattern. According to the World Health Organization and United Nations International Children’s Education Fund joint monitoring report, 1 in 4 Nigerians, about 47 million people practice open defecation. Nigeria is the second in the world with such unhealthy practice. It therefore means that fewer household have their own toilet. Associated with this poor sanitation practice are diseases like typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, malaria etc.

The COVID 19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of slum communities to outbreak of diseases. Physical and social distancing can hardly be practiced in communities dominated by one room apartment shared by more than 4 persons. Residents of Urban slums predominantly live in what is popularly called “face me, i face you apartments”. In this conditions, residents share common toilets and every available space. It is common to find about 10 rooms with almost 30 to 40 occupants in these buildings.

These communities lack basic infrastructure to lift the living conditions of her residents and it is very important that affordable housing designs are employed with good waste disposal methods. We are therefore poised to work with neighbourhoods and communities to improve hygiene within the kingdom.

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