PERCEPTION OF INHABITANTS IN URBAN SLUMS OF BOUAKE (COTE D’IVOIRE) ABOUT THE HEALTH RISKS OF UNSANITARY ENVIRONMENTS
*N’gattia, K. A. | Epidemiologic Surveillance Service, National Institute of Public Hygiene, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Throughout the world, one-third of the urban population continues to dwell in unplanned neighborhoods mostly located within unhygienic slums. The impact on their health could be far-reaching. The present study, which was cross-sectional, examined the perception of people in urban slums of Bouaké, Cote d’Ivoire vis-à-vis the attendant health risks. Majority of respondents selected for the study had lived within the study area for at least 2 years. Two persons per household were selected for the study; including the head of the household and any other occupant within the ages of 8 and 15 years. Overall, 423 people were interviewed. The median age was 21 years, with an average residency of 14 years. A total of 98.8% of the respondents agreed strongly that living in slums exposed inhabitants to grave health risks. However, only 2.9% agreed that an unsanitary environment contributed to pollution of ambient air. The perception of health risks related to exposure to unsanitary slums was statistically associated with the age (p = 0.0152) and the number of years of residency (p = 0.0156). Although, the survey suggested that living in urban slums exposed inhabitants to health risks especially disease epidemics, the fact that these residences had subsisted for very long periods within these slums changed their perception about acceptability.
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