Original Research

Access to health in city slum dwellers: The case of Sodom and Gomorrah in Accra, Ghana

Frances E. Owusu-Ansah, Harry Tagbor, Mabel Afi Togbe
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 8, No 1 | a822 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v8i1.822 | © 2016 Frances E. Owusu-Ansah, Harry Tagbor, Mabel Afi Togbe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 January 2015 | Published: 29 March 2016

About the author(s)

Frances E. Owusu-Ansah, Department of Behavioural Sciences, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
Harry Tagbor, Department of Community Health, School of Medical Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
Mabel Afi Togbe, Military Hospital, Accra, Ghana


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Abstract

Background: Rapid rural-urban migration of people to cities is a reality around the globe that has increased city slum dwellers. Sodom and Gomorrah is a city slum located in the heart of Accra, Ghana. Like other slums, it lacks basic amenities necessary for dwellers’ quality of life. This study describes residents’ access to health and factors associated with the use of healthcarefacilities.

Methods: Questionnaires were administered in systematically selected shacks across the entire slum. Data on demographic characteristics, existent health facilities and number of users, health-insured residents and knowledge of common diseases were collected.

Results: Majority of the residents were from the northern parts of Ghana, relative to the south and a few of them come from other parts of West Africa. Seventy-one percent of residents had never visited a health facility in the last 5 years. When necessary, they access health care from drug stores (61.1%) or hospitals (33.1%). Residents’ age, educational status, income, health knowledge and membership of National Health Insurance Scheme were significantly (p < 0.05) associated with the use of healthcare facilities. Younger residents and those without National Health Insurance Scheme membership, formal education, no knowledge of common illnesses and regular income were significantly less likely to use a healthcare facility. For most residents, neither distance (73.2%) nor transportation to health facilities was a problem (74.1%).

Conclusion: Conditions of profound environmental hazards, overcrowding, poor-quality housing and lack of health care in Sodom and Gomorrah pose grave threats to the health of the inhabitants. Multisectoral interventions and resource mobilisation championed by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development are needed to alter the trend.

Keywords: Slum dwellers, health, access, Sodom and Gomorra, Ghana


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