Quality healthcare is often out of reach for most slum residents, and is actually considered a luxury. The cost of formal health services is too expensive for the limited budgets of families living in slum communities. Informal and untrained chemists exist throughout the slums, but their medications are often wrong, expired, and unregulated.
According to a report prepared by the African Population and Health Research Center, the urban poor fare worse than their rural counterparts on most health indicators. HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, interpersonal violence injuries, and road traffic accidents account for more than two-thirds of the deaths among people ages 5 years and older.
The poor health status of slum children is in part due to continuous exposure to environmental hazards coupled with a lack of basic amenities. Sanitation related and respiratory diseases such as diarrhea, amoebiasis, typhoid, and malaria are very prevalent and the chances of becoming ill are high due to the poor drainage and sanitation, poor ventilation systems in the homes, and inadequate water systems.
There are inadequate wastewater systems throughout the slums which means sewage is directed to open trenches, which is particularly a health hazard for children.