Improving the health and welfare of people who live in slums

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


  • Oyinlola Oyebode
  • David Satterthwaite
  • G J Melendez-Torres
  • Yen-Fu Chen
  • Blessing Mberu
  • Jo Sartori
  • Robert Ndugwa
  • Waleska Caiaffa
  • Tilahun Haregu
  • Anthony Capon
  • Ruhi Saith
  • Alex Ezeh

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Warwick
  • International Institute for Environment and Development
  • African Population and Health Research Center
  • Global Urban Observatory Unit
  • Federal University of Minas Gerais
  • United Nations University
  • Oxford Policy Management Ltd
  • University of the Witwatersrand


In the first paper in this Series we assessed theoretical and empirical evidence and concluded that the health of people living in slums is a function not only of poverty but of intimately shared physical and social environments. In this paper we extend the theory of so-called neighbourhood effects. Slums offer high returns on investment because beneficial effects are shared across many people in densely populated neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood effects also help explain how and why the benefits of interventions vary between slum and non-slum spaces and between slums. We build on this spatial concept of slums to argue that, in all low-income and-middle-income countries, census tracts should henceforth be designated slum or non-slum both to inform local policy and as the basis for research surveys that build on censuses. We argue that slum health should be promoted as a topic of enquiry alongside poverty and health.

Bibliographic note

Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-570
Number of pages12
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number10068
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2017


  • Health Policy, Humans, Poverty Areas, Residence Characteristics, Socioeconomic Factors

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