COVID-19 and Slums: A Pandemic Highlights Gaps in Knowledge About Urban Poverty
JMIR Public Health Surveill
According to the United Nations, about 1 billion persons live in so-called slums. Numerous studies have shown that this population is particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases. The current COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, emphatically underlines this problem. The often high-density living quarters coupled with a large number of persons per dwelling and the lack of adequate sanitation are reasons why measures to contain the pandemic only work to a limited extent in slums. Furthermore, assignment to risk groups for severe courses of COVID-19 caused by noncommunicable diseases (eg, cardiovascular diseases) is not possible due to inadequate data availability. Information on people living in slums and their health status is either unavailable or only exists for specific regions (eg, Nairobi). We argue that one of the greatest problems with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of slums in the Global South is the lack of data on the number of people, their living conditions, and their health status.