A Pathology of Living Environs and its Concomitant Effects on the Health of Slum Dwellers in Chennai City, Tamil Nadu State

S. John Kaviarasu, P Jaiprakash


With every passing year, urban hubs in Tamil Nadu state seem to be proliferating with slums. This is due to the heavy influx of migrants from rural areas to cities in search of livelihood. Chennai being one of the fastest growing major metropolises of India, bears the maximum brunt in the mushrooming of slums among, than other cities. Generally, people in slums face plethora of problems like improper sanitation, unhygienic environmental conditions, social, economic, health, educational and cultural problems, but the main problem they face are health-related. The air and water pollution are the main irritants the slum people face which leads to their various health problems. To study the impact of the pollution on the health of the slum dwellers, a preliminary survey was conducted to collate information on this. Additionally, secondary data was also obtained to supplement the efforts to this end.
The primary focus of the study highlights factors affecting the health of the people in slums. The study comes out with the personal practices by the slum dwellers in the areas of sources of water for domestic usage and measures taken for safe drinking, practice of sanitation and hygiene, knowledge about hygienic latrine, and the most affected diseases among children.
It also focuses on problems associated with poor living condition and its impact on health of the slum dwellers. The initial data analysis reveals that the lack of basic amenities like safe drinking water, proper housing, drainage and excreta disposal services cause the slum population vulnerable to infectious diseases. Added to that, poor sanitary conditions and poor water quality also cause for the water borne diseases, affecting the life expectancy of slum dwellers. Diarrhea is chiefly affecting the children under the age of five and this is the main reason for their absence to schools. It is suggested that if the conditions in slums are improved, health status of the people will also be elevated. Hence this study stresses the crying need to improve sanitation, drinking water facility at slums with joint participation of government, private organizations and non-government organizations in Chennai


Pathology, Health, Health Problem, Ill-health, Migrants, Living Conditions, Slums, Slum dwellers

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