Briefing Papers

Impact of Solid Waste Management on Health: A Biomedical Study of Solid Waste Workers at Dandora Dumpsite, Nairobi, Kenya

Health and Systems for Health

Urbanization is a major feature of global population redistribution, and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), though currently ranked as the least urbanized region of the world, is the most rapidly urbanizing globally. It is projected that in the next few decades the continent will have more than half of its population living in urban settings and this increase comes with several challenges, among which is the high production of solid waste. The management of this waste
and associated health risks constitutes a major problem confronting many cities in SSA. This study builds on the need for research to objectively identify the specific health issues associated with vulnerability to poor solid waste management, especially among workers directly exposed to these wastes. The objectives of the study were to: (a) Assess the prevalence of infections associated with exposure to wastes among waste workers; (b) Identify and estimate the prevalence of injuries and accidents associated with exposure to solid waste; (c) Explore
knowledge and perceptions of stakeholders and general public on the health risks associated with poor solid waste management. This was a cross-sectional study conducted over a period of approximately twelve months. The study employed a complimentary mixed methods approach (quantitative and qualitative) in the data collection process. Findings show that: there are more female than male solid waste workers and this is linked to many work options men have beyond the dumping site than women; some waste workers own protective clothing, yet it is fully established that none owns a full set of protective gears and very few uses the protective clothing they own consistently; there is a high prevalence of infections associated with solid waste work activities and environment within the dumpsite; injuries and accidents reported to be common among solid waste workers include: cuts and injuries, diarrhea, and high susceptibility to Hepatitis B infections (up to 70%).

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CONTRIBUTORS

Head of Health and Systems for Health

Abdhalah Ziraba

Ziraba is an Epidemiologist and a Medical Doctor. His research…

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Head of Urbanization and Wellbeing

Blessing Mberu

Blessing is a Senior Research Scientist and Head of Urbanization…

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Associate Research Scientist

Dickson Amugsi

Dickson is an Associate Research Scientist attached to the Maternal…

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Ivy Chumo

Associate Research Scientist

Kanyiva Muindi

Kanyiva is an air quality researcher within the Urbanization and…

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