Living conditions worsen in ICT slums

Poor wash facilities, lack of awareness increase health risk for women, children in slum areas




Staff Report


The residents of slums in the federal capital particularly women and children were at a serious health risk due to poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and lack of awareness for cleanliness in their dwellings.

According to the World Health Organizations (WHO), the unplanned urbanization resulting in poorly settled human settlements was creating a serious health risk due to lack of basic life amenities.

“The population in urban slums, which are home to an estimated 828 million people, one third of the world’s urban population has observed a huge increase which is detrimental for the environment and human health.”

“UN-HABITAT defines a slum as lacking at least one of the following: a) access to safe water, b) access to sanitation, c) safe and secure tenure, or d) durable housing structures.

“Durable” housing mean housing that is located away from natural or manmade hazards; is structurally safe, and protective against extreme weather. Crowding and economic deprivation further exacerbates the housing and health risks of slum dwellers.”

Moreover, overpopulated and substandard housing facilitates the spread of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, dengue fever, pneumonia, cholera and malaria.

“Poor sanitation and lack of access to safe food and water contribute to high prevalence of diarrhea within slums. The lack of structurally sound, climate-adapted and ventilated homes further puts the health of slum dwellers at risk of climate change-related extreme weather – including heat waves, cold or storms.”

However, the federal capital was home to 12 slums sprawling across the various far-off sectors of Islamabad Capital Territory where people of different religion and ethnic backgrounds reside that had least proper sanitation and defecation facility.

According to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials under the “Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme” project the slums would be regularized by replacing them with properly developed apartments.

In a recent survey by a local non-governmental organization it was found that women and children lacked better sanitation, water and hygiene facilities and also access to soap after defecation in the slum areas.