Increasing urban population and health risks in Tanzania: a case study of squatters in Dar-es-Salaam region

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Dar es Salaam
The world is in the midst of a massive urban transition. By the year 2000, most of the world's population will live in large cities and the urban setting will play a major part in determining their health status. The most rapid change is occurring in the developing world including Tanzania. This study intends to identify health risks and problems in squatter settlement in relation to changes in socio-economic and demographic characteristics. A cross-sectional study was conducted in a total of 250 households from Manzese ward (squatter settlement) and Msasani ward (non- squatter settlement), each with 125 sample households. A total of 1357 persons were covered, 638 from Manzese and 719 from Msasani wards. Information on socio-economic and demographic characteristics were collected by means of structured questionnaire. The findings have shown that squatter dwellers are at higher health risks due to poor living conditions associated with low socio-economic status. Generally, incidences of disease were higher in squatter settlement than in non-squatter settlement. Chronic diseases were reported 1.23 times higher in squatter settlement than in non-squatter settlement. Tuberculosis was reported 2.0 times and asthma 2.1 times in Manzese ward than in Msasani ward. Diabetes was reported 4.7 times and heart disease 3.4 times in Msasani ward than in Manzese ward. The test statistics computed for chronic diseases is Z=2.7 (P=0.00347). Further, in both areas reported deaths were mainly due to infectious and parasitic diseases. Overall, reported deaths were higher for males than females at all ages. Deaths reported in squatter settlement were 1.41 times higher than in non-squatter settlement. The findings have also shown that, malaria, diarrhoea and upper respiratory diseases are the leading cause of death in both hospital and in the study wards. The test statistics computed for reported deaths were Z=4.65 (P=0.00000) and odds ratio (OR)=1.6. In conclusion, a comprehensive urban health planning is needed to raise the status of the urban poor who are at a greater health risk. Action is needed at all levels to enable local government, in partnership with the city residents, to implement strategies that will allow sectors of the urban population to live healthy and productive lives.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark ( THS EAF DTU RA427.3.M85)
Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, Population, Squatters, Health risk assessment, Urban population
Josiah, M, F, R (1997) ,Increasing urban population and health risks in Tanzania: a case study of squatters in Dar-es-Salaam region, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.