By 2050, urban populations will increase to 62% in Africa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UN Habitat in their 2010 report “Hidden Cities” note that this growth constitutes one of the most important global health issues of the 21st century. Cities concentrate opportunities, jobs and services, but they also concentrate risks and hazards for health (WHO and UN Habitat 2010). How fairly are these risks and opportunities distributed across different population groups but also across generations? How well are African cities promoting current and future wellbeing? How far are health systems responding to and planning for these changes? TARSC as cluster lead of the “Equity Watch” work in EQUINET explored these questions in 2016-7, for east and southern African (ESA) countries. This brief reports what we found from a review of published literature. It draws on an annotated bibliography of the literature can be found in Loewenson R, Masotya M (2015) Responding to inequalities in health in urban areas: A review and annotated bibliography, EQUINET Discussion paper 106, TARSC, EQUINET, Harare. The literature pointed to broad trends, but included less evidence on social inequalities in health within urban areas in ESA countries. The picture presented in the literature is not a coherent one- it is rather a series of fragments of different and often disconnected facets of risk, health and care within urban areas. There is limited direct voice of those experiencing the changing conditions. There is also very limited report of the features of urbanisation that promote wellbeing.
Equity in health, Health equity in economic and trade policies, Poverty and health, Governance and participation in health
Title of publication Responding to inequalities in health in urban areas in east and southern Africa: Brief 1: What does the literature tell us? May 2018, TARSC, EQUINET, Harare
Date of publication
urban health, literature, east and southern Africa
East and southern Africa region
Equinet Publication Type