15 December 2012

Kenya: 20 Per Cent Miss School in Kisumu Town Slums

Photo: Lauren Everitt/AllAfrica
A toilet in Kenya's Mukuru slum

MORE than 60 per cent of Kisumu city residents live in extreme poverty, a Millennium Cities Initiative report says. A survey conducted randomly in selected household shows that despite the introduction of free primary education, 20 per cent of children in the city are out of school because of poverty.

MCI director Susan Blaustein, who conducted the study in conjunction with city council of Kisumu, said slum dwellers lack access to critical services such as education, healthcare, clean water, sanitation and housing.

"Many households in the city's informal settlements do not have adequate access to basic services as water, sanitation and electricity," she said.

The city does not have enough schools and public health facilities. The survey says most of the resident are more worried about basic survival at the expense of education.

The survey captured data on education, health, household assets and expenditures, employment, infrastructure and social amenities in three of Kisumu's largest slums -- Nyalenda A, Nyalenda B and Obunga.

Blaustein blamed the poverty to rapid population growth as a result of natural growth and continuing migration from the surrounding areas into the city. Kisumu city clerk Christopher Rosana said the growing population is affecting provision of services.

The report says only half of the mothers in Nyalenda A and Obunga deliver at home because are unable to attend four or more antenatal visits as recommended by the World Health Organisation.

In slums, cost of utilities is more than double that of non-slum dwellers with slum dwellers paying 50 per cent more for water from vendors.

Many households rely on rubbish pits or dispose of their waste on footpaths for lack of toilets and dumpsite. The report says 39 per cent of the population has no access to electricity in a city with limited opportunities for employment.

The which was conducted in 625 randomly-selected households found that 80 per cent of children have been vaccinated against the childhood diseases -- tuberculosis, polio and whooping cough -- but less than 70 per cent have been immunised against measles. The findings paint a gloomy picture over the achievement of the Millennium development Goals in the city.

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