Poverty and health

Hostile Environment(s) – Designing Hostility, Building Refugia
Pezzani L: ar/ge kunst, Bolzano, unibz – Faculty of Design and Art in collaboration with Z33 – House of Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture, Hasselt, 2020

Hostile Environment(s) – Designing Hostility, Building Refugia is an expanded programme investigating the political ecology of migration and border violence. Through a series of lectures, workshops, screenings, commissioned texts and other materials delivered both online and in-person it provides an index and archive of materials that are regularly be updated with new content. The term “hostile environment” draws from legislation in UK, denying migrants from Africa and other countries deemed to be illegal access to work, housing, services and education. Far from being an exceptional condition, however, this process of making (urban) space unlivable for some resonates with the ways in which certain “natural” terrains (oceans, deserts, mountains) have been structured to deter and expel migrants. These materials seeks to capture these interconnected processes, investigating how certain forms of racialized violence have become as pervasive as the climate.

Prevalence and patterns of gender-based violence across adolescent girls and young women in Mombasa, Kenya
Bhattacharjee P; Ma H; Musyoki H; Cheuk E; et al: BMC Women's Health 20(229), 1-11, doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-020-01081-8, 2020

This study sought to estimate the prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) in adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) through a cross-sectional survey in Mombasa, Kenya in 2015. The main perpetrators of violence were intimate partners for young women engaged in casual sex, and both intimate partners and regular non-client partners for young women engaged in transactional sex. For young women engaged in sex work, first-time and regular paying clients were the main perpetrators of physical and sexual violence. Alcohol use, ever being pregnant and regular source of income were associated with physical and sexual violence though it differed by subgroup and type of violence. AGYW in these settings experience high vulnerability to physical, sexual and police violence. However, they are not a homogeneous group, and the variation in prevalence and predictors of violence needs to be understood to design effective programmes to address violence.

Inequalities in access to water and soap matter for the COVID-19 response in sub-Saharan Africa
Jiwani S; Antiporta D: International Journal for Equity in Health 19(82) doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12939-020-01199-z, 2020

This paper explored the inequalities in access to water and soap for the COVID-19 responses since December 2019. . Although access to clean water and soap is universal in high-income settings, it remains a basic need many do not have in low- and middle-income settings. according to data from Demographic and Health Surveys of 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, using the most recent survey since 2015. The authors propose that interventions such as mass distribution of soap and ensuring access to clean water, along with other preventive strategies should be scaled up to reach the most vulnerable populations.

Socioeconomic inequalities in food insecurity and malnutrition among under-five children: within and between-group inequalities in Zimbabwe
Lukwa A; Siya A; Zablon K; Azam J; et al: BMC Public Health 20(1199), doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09295-z, 2020

The authors explored socioeconomic inequalities trend in child health using Demographic Health Survey data sets of 2010\11 and 2015. Food insecurity in under-five children was determined based on the World Health Organisation dietary diversity score. Theil indices for nutrition status showed socioeconomic inequality gaps to have widened, while food security status socioeconomic inequality gaps contracted for the period under review. The study concluded that unequal distribution of household wealth and residence status play critical roles in driving socioeconomic inequalities in child food insecurity and malnutrition. Child food insecurity and malnutrition are greatly influenced by where a child lives and their parental wealth.

Water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
World Health Organisation, WHO/2019-nCoV/IPC_WASH/2020.4, July 2020

The provision of safe water, sanitation and waste management and hygienic conditions are essential for protecting human health during all infectious disease outbreaks, including of COVID-19. Ensuring evidenced-based and consistently applied WASH and waste management practices in communities, homes, schools, marketplaces, and healthcare facilities will help prevent human-to-human transmission of COVID-19. This guidance provides additional details on risks associated with excreta and untreated sewage, hand hygiene, protecting WASH workers and supporting the continuation and strengthening of WASH services, especially in underserved areas.

COVID-19 soars women’s water burden
Gender desk team: Daily Nation, Kenya, April 2020

Coronavirus has increased demand for and consumption of water in households. At the same time this presents Water scarcity presents a challenge for women in rural areas and informal settlements. Rural women walk up to 30 kilometres to fetch water from rivers, dams and boreholes. This may mean that some rural family members minimise use of the water; exposing them to health risks. Urban slum women now spend up to an extra Kenya Sh120 daily on water, and those that can't afford to buy are reported to resort to the polluted city river. This article highlights the experiences of women in rural and urban Kenya in gathering water needed for their work and families in light of COVID-19. It illustrates the lived experience of additional burdens that the pandemic now places on them, affecting their livelihoods and their physical and mental wellbeing.

Evidence for Transformative Change: UNRISD Survey on Responses to Covid-19 and Vulnerable Communities
United Nations Research Institute for Social Development: UNRISD, Geneva, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting vulnerable people the hardest in both high- and low-income countries. At the same time, in areas where infection rates are currently lower and policies still taking shape, there is a window of opportunity for informed analysis to provide added value. With the help of its global network of experts, UNRISD is gathering and quickly analysing how well current government policies on Covid-19 in all countries and regions are responding to the needs of vulnerable people. The result will be evidence-based recommendations on how governments can make sure their Covid-19 response policies leave no one behind. There can be no one-size-fits all answers and national and local government policy making in different regions must also respond to different social, economic, political and cultural contexts.

Hwange women exposed to the vagaries of coal mining. . . as one dies poaching coke
Mlevu S: Centre for Natural Resource Governance, 2020

Centre for Natural Resource Governance shared, with sorrow, news of the death of a Hwange woman after a tunnel she was using to sneak into Hwange Colliery Company Limited’s (HCCL) premises collapsed on her and her colleague. As Zimbabwe’s economy declines the Hwange Community now survives largely through several illicit activities, which include sneaking into the company premised through a tunnel to steal coking coke. The centre makes several recommendations. Firstly, that the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Women Affairs and Small to Medium Enterprises should immediately avail grants for income generating projects to support women in Hwange. This will help women who are not on formal employment to avoid risky livelihood options. They propose that the HCCL must provide safety and security measures that will inhibit people from illegally taking coal coke in their premises. HCCL should also fully implement safety, health and environment initiatives around their premises so that lives can be saved. The centre also recommends that the government provides social and economic security for women mining affected areas and that the Environmental Management Agency regularly monitors SHE compliance in all companies without bias.

Societal risk factors for overweight and obesity in women in Zimbabwe: a cross-sectional study
Mangemba N; Sebastian M: BMC Public Health 20(103) 1-8, 2020

This study determined the socioeconomic risk factors for overweight and obesity in non-pregnant adult Zimbabwean women. A cross-sectional study was conducted using the 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey data on the adult female population aged 15 to 49. The weighted prevalence of overweight and obesity in adult females was 34% and 12% respectively. The prevalence of overweight and obesity among women in Zimbabwe was high. The key social factors associated were older age, being married, being wealthy and using hormonal contraception. Having a higher education and being Christian also increased the risk of being obese and overweight respectively. The design of multi-faceted overweight and obesity reduction programs for women that focus on increasing physical activity and strengthening of social support systems are argued by the authors to be necessary to combat this epidemic.

Trends in prevalence and correlates of intimate partner violence against women in Zimbabwe, 2005–2015
Mukamana J; Machakanja P; Adjei N: BMC International Health and Human Rights 20 (2),1-11, 2020

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a widespread problem affecting all cultures and socioeconomic groups. This study explored the trends in prevalence and risk factors associated with IPV among Zimbabwean women of reproductive age (15–49 years) from 2005 to 2015, analysing data from the 2005/2006, 2010/2011 and 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Surveys. The prevalence of Intimate partner violence was found to have decreased from 45% in 2005 to 41% in 2010, and then increased to 43% in 2015. Some of the risk factors associated with Intimate partner violence were younger age, low economic status, cohabitation and rural residence. Educational attainment of women was not significantly associated with Intimate partner violence. The findings indicate that women of reproductive age are at high and increasing risk of physical and emotional violence. The authors argue that there is a need for an integrated policy approach to address the rise of IPV related physical and emotional violence against women in Zimbabwe.