Epidemic prevalence among children in slums and the corresponding challenges in prevention and response: The case of Mathare Slum
Otieno, Monica A
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The aim of this research study was to assess epidemic prevalence among children in Mathare slum and the corresponding challenges in prevention and response. Until recently, Kenya's development has been mostly focused in the urban areas. This has led to a large influx of migrants from the rural to the urban areas. Together with political and economic instability,this influx has forced more people to live below the poverty line, concentrated in the slums. Specific objectives of this study was to establish the extent to which intervention measures for the prevention of epidemics in the slums have progressed. This involved documenting the intervention measures by the Stakeholders, the challenges they face in , the effort to provide these interventions and the key effects to the failures of these projects. The theoretical framework adapted in this study was based on employed disaster management theories. It concentrated on vulnerability assessment and risk management theories. The conceptual framework that was adapted in this study was an adoption of The United Nations Disaster Relief Co-ordinator (UNDRO), (1979). This conceptual frame work shows that Disaster Risk Management has constantly been pursuing to accumulate systematic knowledge and technology to understand hazard-disaster transformation processes and to find better strategies for reducing disaster risks involved at global, regional and community level. The researcher looked at literature from the international perspectives then narrowed down to specifically Kenyan context which cumulated the extent at which epidemics prevail and response measures underway. The study employed descriptive study as research design; with the target population of 240 households and 30 stakeholders. A total of 212 questionnaires were received back from respondents and 25 from the stakeholders. Data was obtained through interview guides, document analysis guide and questionnaires. The data was summarised into frequencies, percentages, charts and graphs. While data obtained through interviews, observations schedule were reported in narrative form to describe the actual situation. The findings showed that epidemics are prevalent in the area because of: poor environmental conditions, poor preventive measures employed by the respondents and inadequate response measures. The environmental conditions are characterised by poor sanitation, inadequate water supply and lack of proper waste disposal. It was evident that there are intervention measures in place by various stakeholders. However, the interventions are inadequate this is because of rapid population growth. Due to the failures of these interventions, the key effects of the problems associated with the same are deteriorating livelihoods, constant epidemics among children, under provision of basic services among others.