HIV/AIDS Among Youth in Urban Informal (slum) Settlements in Kenya: What Are the Correlates of and Motivations for HIV Testing?*

Abstract

Background:

Although HIV counseling and testing (HCT) is widely considered an integral component of HIV prevention and treatment strategies, few studies have examined HCT behavior among youth in sub-Saharan Africa group at substantial risk for HIV infection. In this paper we examine: the correlates of HIV testing, including whether associations differ based on the context under which a person gets tested; and the motivations for getting (or not getting) an HIV test.

Methods:

Drawing on data collected in 2007 from 4028 (51% male) youth (12-22 years) living in Korogocho and Viwandani slum settlements in Nairobi (Kenya), we explored the correlates of and motivations for HIV testing using the Health Belief Model (HBM) as a theoretical framework. Multinomial and binary logistic regression analyses were employed to examine correlates of HIV testing. Bivariate analyses were employed to assess reasons for or against testing.

Results:

Nineteen percent of males and 35% of females had been tested. Among tested youth, 74% of males and 43% of females had requested for their most recent HIV test while 7% of males and 32% of females reported that they were required to take their most recent HIV test (i.e., the test was mandatory). About 60% of females who had ever had sex received an HIV test because they were pregnant. We found modest support for the HBM in explaining variation in testing behavior. In particular, we found that perceived risk for HIV infection may drive HIV testing among youth. For example, about half of youth who had ever had sex but had never been tested reported that they had not been tested because they were not at risk.

Conclusions:

Targeted interventions to help young people correctly assess their level of risk and to increase awareness of the potential value of HIV testing may help enhance uptake of testing services. Given the relative success of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services in increasing HIV testing rates among females, routine provider-initiated testing and counseling among all clients visiting medical facilities may provide an important avenue to increase HIV status awareness among the general population and especially among males […]

Read More…

Hunger and Food Insecurity in Nairobi’s Slums: An Assessment Using IRT Models*

Abstract

Although linked to poverty as conditions reflecting inadequate access to resources to obtain food, issues such as hunger and food insecurity have seldom been recognized as important in urban settings. Overall, little is known about the prevalence and magnitude of hunger and food insecurity in most cities. Yet, in sub-Saharan Africa where the majority of urban dwellers live on less than one dollar a day, it is obvious that  a large proportion of the urban population must be satisfied with just one meal a day. This paper suggests using the one- and two-parameter item response theory models to infer a reliable and valid measure of hunger and food insecurity relevant to low-income urban settings, drawing evidence from the Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System. The reliability and accuracy of the items are tested using both the Mokken scale analysis and the Cronbach test. The validity of the inferred household food insecurity measure is assessed by examining how it is associated with households’ economic status. Results show that food insecurity is pervasive amongst slum dwellers in Nairobi. Only one household in five is food-secure, and nearly half of all households are categorized as “food-insecure with both adult and child hunger.” Moreover, in line with what is known about household allocation of resources, evidence indicates that parents often forego food in order to prioritize their children. […]

Read More…

In Their Own Words: Assessment of Satisfaction With Residential Location Among Migrants in Nairobi Slums*

Abstract

Using qualitative data collected from a sample of rural-urban migrants over the age of 15 in two Nairobi slums interviewed in 2008, this paper discusses the migrants’ extent of satisfaction with their residential location and decision to migrate. The study sheds light on why people continue to migrate to, and stay in, the rapidly growing slum settlements despite the high levels of poverty and poor health conditions in these areas. Tenure status is related to satisfaction for all ages. Environmental factors were frequently mentioned as a source of dissatisfaction. Life cycle and ‘age-cohort effects’ may also affect satisfaction for different age groups in terms of who is satisfied as well as the issues that are considered for satisfaction. High levels of dissatisfaction with slum life may be responsible for high out-migration in slum areas, although it does not mean that those who remain do so because they are satisfied. At the same time, challenges associated with slum life do not automatically signify dissatisfaction. Perceived success, as well as conditions in the area of origin can be used to explain and understand satisfaction/dissatisfaction with slum life. Satisfaction with migration and residential location may be related not only to the destination place, but also to events in the area of origin. […]

Read More…

Monitoring of Health and Demographic Outcomes in Poor Urban Settlements: Evidence From the Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System*

The Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System (NUHDSS) was set up in Korogocho and Viwandani slum settlements to provide a platform for investigating linkages between urban poverty, health, and demographic and other socioeconomic outcomes, and to facilitate the evaluation of interventions to improve the wellbeing of the urban poor. […]

Read More…

Overview of migration, poverty and health dynamics in nairobi city’s slum settlements*

Abstract

The Urbanization, Poverty, and Health Dynamics research program was designed to generate and provide the evidence base that would help governments, development partners, and other stakeholders understand how the urban slum context affects health outcomes in order to stimulate policy and action for uplifting the wellbeing of slum residents. The program was nested into the Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System, a uniquely rich longitudinal research platform, set up in Korogocho and Viwandani slum settlements in Nairobi city, Kenya. Findings provide rich insights on the context in which slum dwellers live and how poverty and migration status interacts with health issues over the life course. Contrary to popular opinions and beliefs that see slums as homogenous residential entities, the findings paint a picture of a highly dynamic and heterogeneous setting. While slum populations are highly mobile, about half of the population comprises relatively well doing long-term dwellers who have lived in slum settlements for over 10 years. The poor health outcomes that slum residents exhibit at all stages of the life course are rooted in three key characteristics of slum settlements: poor environmental conditions and infrastructure; limited access to services due to lack of income to pay for treatment and preventive services; and reliance on poor quality and mostly informal and unregulated health services that are not well suited to meeting the unique realities and health needs of slum dwellers. Consequently, policies and programs aimed at improving the wellbeing of slum dwellers should address comprehensively the underlying structural, economic, behavioral, and service-oriented barriers to good health and productive lives among slum residents. […]

Read More…

Social conditions and urban health inequities: realities, challenges and opportunities to transform the urban landscape through research and action*

Abstract

The process of urbanization entails social improvements with the consequential better quality-of-life for urban residents. However, in many low-income and some middle-income countries, urbanization conveys inequality and exclusion, creating cities and dwellings characterized by poverty, overcrowded conditions, poor housing, severe pollution, and absence of basic services such as water and sanitation. Slums in large cities often have an absence of schools, transportation, health centers, recreational facilities, and other such amenities. Additionally, the persistence of certain conditions, such as poverty, ethnic heterogeneity, and high population turnover, contributes to a lowered ability of individuals and communities to control crime, vandalism, and violence. The social vulnerability in health is not a “natural” or predefined condition but occurs because of the unequal social context that surrounds the daily life of the disadvantaged, and often, socially excluded groups. Social exclusion of individuals and groups is a major threat to development, whether to the community social cohesion and economic prosperity or to the individual self-realization through lack of recognition and acceptance, powerlessness, economic vulnerability, ill health, diminished life experiences, and limited life prospects. In contrast, social inclusion is seen to be vital to the material, psychosocial, and political aspects of empowerment that underpin social well-being and equitable health. Successful experiences of cooperation and networking between slum-based organizations, grassroots groups, local and international NGOs, and city government are important mechanisms that can be replicated in urban settings of different low- and middle-income countries. With increasing urbanization, it is imperative to design health programs for the urban poor that take full advantage of the social resources and resourcefulness of their own communities. […]

Read More…

Using historical vital statistics to predict the distribution of under-five mortality by cause*

Background:

Cause-specific mortality data is essential for planning intervention programs to reduce mortality in the under age five years population (under-five). However, there is a critical paucity of such information for most of the developing world, particularly where progress towards the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4) has been slow. This paper presents a predictive cause of death model for under-five mortality based on historical vital statistics and discusses the utility of the model in generating information that could accelerate progress towards MDG 4.

Methods:

Over 1400 country years of vital statistics from 34 countries collected over a period of nearly a century were analyzed to develop relationships between levels of under-five mortality, related mortality ratios, and proportionate mortality from four cause groups: perinatal conditions; diarrhea and lower respiratory infections; congenital anomalies; and all other causes of death. A system of multiple equations with cross-equation parameter restrictions and correlated error terms was developed to predict proportionate mortality by cause based on given measures of under-five mortality. The strength of the predictive model was tested through internal and external crossvalidation techniques. Modeled cause-specific mortality estimates for major regions in Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America are presented to illustrate its application across a range of under-five mortality rates.

Results:

Consistent and plausible trends and relationships are observed from historical data. High mortality rates are associated with increased proportions of deaths from diarrhea and lower respiratory infections. Perinatal conditions assume importance as a proportionate cause at under-five mortality rates below 60 per 1000 live births. Internal and external validation confirms strength and consistency of the predictive model. Model application at regional level demonstrates heterogeneity and non-linearity in cause-composition arising from the range of under-five mortality rates and related mortality ratios. […]

Read More…

Circular Migration Patterns and Determinants in Nairobi Slum Settlements

This paper measures migration flows and determinants in two slum settlements in Nairobi City between 2003 and 2007. The results confirm the high intensity of migration with a quarter of the total slum population and a third of those aged 15-30 being renewed annually. A circular migration system is at play whereby the majority of slum dwellers are short-term migrants spending on average less than 3 years in the area. Migration is more intense during early adulthood (20-24), and despite very similar determinants across gender, mobility is more intense among women compared to men. The increasing feminization of migration is likely to change the face of slum settlements, resulting in more balanced sex ratios, in line with city-wide trends in Nairobi over the past half century. The high population turnover is due to the insecurity of livelihoods, tenure, and poor basic amenities and social services in slum settlements. […]

Read More…

The health and well-being of older people in nairobi’s slums*

Background:

Globally, it is estimated that people aged 60 and over constitute more than 11% of the population, with the corresponding proportion in developing countries being 8%. Rapid urbanisation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), fuelled in part by ruralurban migration and a devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic, has altered the status of older people in many SSA societies. Few studies have, however, looked at the health of older people in SSA. This study aims to describe the health and well-being of older people in two Nairobi slums.

Methods:

Data were collected from residents of the areas covered by the Nairobi Urban Health and Demographic Surveillance System (NUHDSS) aged 50 years and over by 1 October 2006. Health status was assessed using the short SAGE (Study on Global AGEing and Adult Health) form. Mean WHO Quality of Life (WHOQoL) and a composite health score were computed and binary variables generated using the median as the cut-off. Logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with poor quality of life (QoL) and poor health status.

Results:

Out of 2,696 older people resident in the NUHDSS surveillance area during the study period, data were collected on 2,072. The majority of respondents were male, aged 5060 years. The mean WHOQoL score was 71.3 (SD 6.7) and mean composite health score was 70.6 (SD 13.9). Males had significantly better QoL and health status than females and older respondents had worse outcomes than younger ones. Sex, age, education level and marital status were significantly associated with QoL, while slum of residence was significantly associated with health status.

Conclusion:

The study adds to the literature on health and well-being of older people in SSA, especially those in urban informal settlements. Further studies are needed to validate the methods used for assessing health status and to provide comparisons from other settings. Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems have the potential to conduct such studies and to evaluate health and well-being over time. […]

Read More…