Urbanization and Health

by - A.N. Khan
* Senior Scientist & Former Assistant Director, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur

Rapid urbanization and the increase in the population of cities are recognized as being among the major challenges of health development. Between 1990 and 2025, the total urban population in developing countries is projected to increase threefold to almost 61% of the population.

It is associated with many health challenges related with water, environment, violence and injury, non-communicable diseases and their risk factors like tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and the risk associated with disease outbreaks.Time and again, the bright lights of the city prove an irresistible attraction for families living in the surrounding countryside. They converge in ever-growing numbers on the already over-crowded cities, only to face shortcoming in housing, water supply, sewage disposal, local transport and job opportunities.

The urban poor suffer from a wide range of diseases and other health problems, including chronic diseases and for some, communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The increasing concentration of people in urban centers has strained the capacity of most governments to provide basic services. Illegal slums and settlements are common. In such areas, people are usually deprived of access to the basic facilities of drinking water and waste disposal.

Resources are not adequate for removal or disposal of waste. Residents have little access to facilities which make for a reasonable quality of life and human development. Thus they often suffer from greater exposure to dust, unpleasant smells, chemicals and noise pollution, and the nature of dwelling makes them less able to withstand such hazards. There is direct link between people dwelling in such conditions and cholera, viral hepatitis, typhoid fever, schistomiasis, dirrhoeal and parasitic diseases that are carried by water or poor sanitation, overcrowding and poor diet.

They are also exposed to health risks of modern cities – traffic, pollution etc., and suffer the consequences of social and psychological instability as the traditional support structures of rural areas steadily disappear. Most people in such cities struggle to survive by participating in the informal economic sector where exposure to occupational hazard is of very little concern. Long – term exposure to high levels of air pollution in build up areas can cause respiratory disease, persistent decline in lung function, carcinogenic effects, effects on the nervous and immune systems, and development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The growing realization that most of the improvements in health which has occurred in the recent past has come about because of action outside the medical sector – economic development, better nutrition and education, better housing, and a cleaner environment - has fostered renewed interest in Preventive Medicine. To make cities healthy, we must, all those who deal with aspects of the urban system that directly or indirectly affect health, involve themselves in urban health planning.

Urban planning can promote healthy behaviour and safety through investment in active transport, designing areas to promote physical activity and passing regulatory control on tobacco and food safety. Improving urban living conditions in the areas of housing, water and sanitation will go a long way to mitigate health risks. Building inclusive cities that are accessible and age-friendly will benefit all urban residents.

Such actions do not require additional funding, but commitment to redirect resources to priority interventions, thereby achieving greater efficiency.
(PIB feature)

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

The Hindu - Opinion

TAGS for articles

AGRICULTURE Andamans ANDHRA PRADESH Articles in Yojana Magazine BANKING Bio-Diversity Biodiversity CAG 150 Years CAMELS Rating System CENSUS : Important Definitions Census 2011 Census Data 2001 India at a glance Census of India 2011 Champaran Satyagraha's 100 years Children in India 2012 Climate Change Co-operative sector Communication CONSTITUTION Consumer Affairs COP 18 CRPF 75 YEARS Culture Cyclone Defence Desertification Disabled Get Social Justice Doha Climate Change Conference 2012 Outcomes E-Waste Management Eco Mark Economy Education in India eGovernance ELECTRONICS National Policy 2012 Emissions Trading Energy Engineers are Nation Builders Environment FDI FDI in Multi Brand Retail Finance Food Security FOOD SECURITY ACT 2013 Forest Gandhi Gas Authority of India Ltd General Elections 2014 Geography Global knowledge hub Goa Good Governance GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC SERVICE Governance and Public Service Govt. Schemes Green Bench Handicrafts Haryana Judiciary Health History Home Ministry details and imp websites Horticulture Human Development Rank IARI PUSA IFoS Interview India Post India Year Book 2010 Indira Gandhi Indo Pak Relations Indo USA Indo- Nepal Relations 2014 Industrial Disputes Industry Inflation Infrastructure INTERNAL SECURITY International Relations Internet Interview Preparation Irrigation ISRO : FAQs Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission Judge Guide JUDICIAL ACTIVISM JUDICIARY Judiciary : Articles on very important topics Kashmir Khadi Language Large Hadron Collider Law LOKAYUKTA ROLE Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011 Mangroves mate Change Media Mercury MGNREGA: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act Monetary Policy MSME National Forest Policy (NFP) 1988 National Green Tribunal National Issues National Pension System Nature Naxalism Naxalism : Internal Security Problem in India Naxalism (HINDI) Naxalism LWE Maoism: Problems and solutions Nilgiri North East NRHM- Key Achievements NSS: National Service Scheme Nuclear Science and Nuclear Reactor Nutrition Odiya Film Making 75 Years OUR PARLIAMENT Panchati Raj Parliament of India Peace Process in North East Personality Test Planning Planning Commission of India PM Narendra Modi Speech on 15 Aug 2014 Lal kila Delhi Pollution Population Poverty President election 2017 President's lecture Project Arrow Project Elephant Public Administration Public Administration - Articles/Reports/Papers PURA Qualities of Judge (Judicial Officer) Rabindranath Tagore Railways Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana RBI : Journey into History of Bank of the Bankers Remote Sensing Renewable Energy RTI in brief Rural India SAFAR SARFAESI ACT Science and Technology Sevottam Simla Agreement Social Issues Society Socio Economic and Religious Differentials states Sunderbans Sustainable Development Tamil Tamilnadu Technological Developments Total Sanitation Campaign Tourism Tribes Tripura UPSC Urban Flooding Urban Issues Values Water Issues Water woes Welfare Wildlife Protection and Conservation Women's Issues Zoology

Trusted name in IAS Interview Training