Monday, 19 July 2010

Slum upgrading

There’s a good ‘article in press’ in Social Science & Medicine: Improved health outcomes in urban slums through infrastructure upgrading by Neel M. Butala (Yale School of Medicine) and Michael J. Van Rooyen and Ronak Bhailal Patel (both of Harvard School of Public Health). Here’s part of the Abstract:

Upgrades in slum household water and sanitation systems have not yet been rigorously evaluated to demonstrate whether there is a direct link to improved health outcomes. This study aims to show that slum upgrading as carried out in Ahmedabad, India led to a significant decline in waterborne illness incidence. We employ a quasi-experimental regression model using health insurance claims (for 2001−2008) as a proxy for passive surveillance of disease incidence.

We found that slum upgrading reduced a claimant’s likelihood of claiming for waterborne illness from 32% to 14% and from 25% to 10% excluding mosquito-related illnesses. This study shows that upgrades in slum household infrastructure can lead to improved health outcomes and help achieve the MDGs. It also provides guidance on how upgrading in this context using microfinance and a public-private partnership can provide an avenue to affect positive change.

Quite an interesting way of measuring health outcomes.