Housing and health:the relationship between the residential environment and the health status of households:a study of Jericho estate, Umoja estate, and Lindi village
Provision of shelter in all it's different forms is a major problem in many urban areas of the developing countries. In Kenya the housing problem in urban areas has reached alarming proportions. The country has experienced rapid growth in its urban population without the corresponding expansion in public provision. The result is that in almost every urban centre, Nairobi, the capital city being the most affected, many people live in poor housing neighbourhoods with relatively little or no provision of the infrastructure, services and facilities that are essential for health. Though the public and private sectors have made attempts to increase the supply of adequate and affordable housing, this has not been sufficient due to the rapid population growth and deteriorating economic conditions. This has led to the proliferation and increase in size of informal settlements that are characterized by poor housing conditions, inadequate services and overcrowding. The once well-planned, middle-income housing estates are also characterized by similar problems such as overcrowding, deteriorating housing and living conditions, and inadequate infrastructural services. These poor and unhygienic living conditions impose a heavy burden on the residents. The morbidity rates caused by diseases stemming from environmental conditions are significantly on the increase. This study examines housing conditions and the state of residential environment and how they affect the health of the inhabitants. Various inadequacies in housing and the residential environment of the study areas were found to have an influence on the health status of the residents. Residents living in poor housing in a deplorable residential environment have higher morbidity rates than residents living in good quality housing and , cleaner residential environments. The intra-urban differences in the health status of the residents stemmed mainly from the inadequacies in housing and the residential environment. It is therefore important to ensure that the conditions that increase the resident's susceptibility to the environment-related diseases are minimised. This would also ensure that the country has a productive and healthy population and health population for development. purposes. To contribute positively towards the goal of "Health for All", every effort should be made to improve the living environment and economic conditions.