Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Survey of Hypertension, Diabetes and Obesity in Three Nigerian Urban Slums

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Survey of Hypertension, Diabetes and Obesity in Three Nigerian Urban Slums

Article excerpt


Background: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) exist in slums as the inhabitants adopt an urbanized lifestyle which places them at a higher risk for. Lack of knowledge about the morbidity, complications and the method of control contributes to a large percentage of undetected and untreated cases.

Methods: This cross-sectional survey polled 2,434 respondents from Ijora Oloye, Ajegunle and Makoko, three urban slums in Lagos metropolis, southwestern Nigeria between June 2010 and October 2012. We investigated the prevalence of hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Respondents signed consent forms and their health conditions were documented based on self-reported history of diabetes, hypertension and family history using a semi-structured questionnaire. Diagnostic tests; weight and height for body mass index, blood glucose, and blood pressure were performed.

Results:More than one quarter of the participants were suffering from hypertension and only half of this were diagnosed earlier, while a further few were already on treatment. Therefore on screening, it had been possible to diagnose over three hundred more respondents, who were not previously aware of their health status. The respondents' BMI showed that more than half of them were either overweight or obese and are at risk for diabetes, while 3.3% were confirmed as being diabetic, with their sugar levels greater than the normal range.

Conclusion:This study therefore revealed the near absence of screening programs for chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity in these urban slums. This was further confirmed by the detection of new and undiagnosed cases of hypertension in about one quarter of the respondents.

Keywords:Survey, Non-communicable diseases, Hypertension, Diabetes, Obesity, Urban slums


United Nations Human Settlements gave a comprehensive global description of urban slum communities and attempted to identify different approaches to address this problem to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). At the United Nations Expert Group meeting held in Nairobi in 2002, a slum was operationally defined as a human settlement that has the following characteristics: inadequate access to safe water, sanitation and other infrastructure, poor structural quality of housing, overcrowding and insecure residential status (1, 2). Currently, these characteristics describe communities that comprise 43% of the combined urban populations in all developing countries, and 78% of the urban population in least developed countries (2). Apart from the standard social indices, such as life expectancy at birth, under five mortality rates and access to improved water sources and sanitation, the report did not address disease spectrum or burden in these communities. Hence little is known about the spectrum and burden of disease morbidity in urban slums of the world, whereas lack of such data hampers adequate health care resource allocation and provision of appropriate disease prevention services. In many countries, most disease burden or mortality information on urban slum dwellers is largely based on clinic, hospital, or national mortality registry data. This type of information is not sufficient to plan health care expenditures, and grossly underestimates or misdirects the health care resource allocation needs.

Non-communicable diseases refer to diseases or conditions that occur in, or are known to affect, individuals over an extensive period of time and for which there are no known causative agents that are transmitted from one affected individual to another (3). Hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, mental health problems, asthma, atherosclerosis and allergy are non-communicable diseases that are rapidly emerging as public health challenge to urban slum populations, whereas 72% of the total global burden of disease in adults thirty years or older are due to these chronic diseases (4-7). …

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