• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Impact of Rapid Urbanization on Health

Rapid urbanization has significant repercussions on migrants’ health. The increasing movement of people from rural to urban areas often alters the characteristic epidemiological disease profile of the country, and at the same time new diseases appear or old ones reemerge. Such is the case of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Urbanization is also associated with changes in diet and exercise that increase the prevalence of obesity with increased risks of type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Additional mobility-related risks among migrants include poverty, vulnerability to sexual abuse and exploitation, dangerous working conditions and separation from social support networks. Many of these conditions affect the most vulnerable segments of the population: women, children and the elderly.

Although many migrants are young and healthy when they arrive in the cities, poor and overcrowding conditions increase the incidence of some diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and respiratory diseases when compared to local residents. In recent years, for example, tuberculosis has shown higher rates of infection, a problem compounded by delayed diagnosis and inadequate care.

In addition, migrants show high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Because of their high mobility, migrants tend to spread the virus when they return to the countryside, where health facilities are not as well equipped to deal with the infection as they are in the cities.

Many of migrants’ health problems are due to their lack of knowledge of how to use existing health services. In addition, because of the high cost of hospital attention, many migrants are reluctant to come to the hospitals to be taken care of.

On most indicators of maternal and infant health, migrants fare worse than the urban population. Many migrant women work in industries where they are in contact with environmental contaminants which are especially dangerous to the reproductive system of women when they are pregnant.

Each step in the reproductive process can be altered by toxic substances in the environment that increase the risk of abortion, birth defects, fetal growth and neonatal death. Many studies have shown that exposing pregnant women to carbon monoxide can damage the health of the fetus. In addition, the developing fetus is susceptible to environmental factors – for example through the mother’s exposure to toxic substances in the workplace.

Children are especially susceptible to disease when they are born and develop in an environment characterized by overcrowding, poor hygiene, excessive noise, and lack of space for recreation and study. They suffer not only from a hostile physical environment, but from stress and other factors such as violence that such environments create.

Many city dwellers take for granted access to basic public services, such as drinking water supply, housing, solid waste disposal, transportation and health care. For the poor, however, these services are either deficient or nonexistent. Instead, those living in marginal poor zones usually receive an extra dose of environmental pollution, since many industries tend to cluster in outlying areas where regulations are more lax. Unemployment, poverty and living in crowded conditions contribute to violence, substance abuse and mental illness.

Particularly in cities, motor vehicles are an important source of air pollution. In addition, they can be a significant cause of pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The pollutants that originate from motor vehicles, particularly nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, ozone, and particulate matter, account for a substantial proportion of air pollution in cities which can have a serious impact on health.

Crowded urban neighborhoods, combined with poor sanitary conditions and inadequate waste removal, create situations favorable to the spread of infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and diarrhea. Inadequate sanitation is an important risk factor for diarrheal and parasitic diseases.

Given the serious effects that urbanization can have on health, it is essential to include health considerations into policy making. Because many of the negative effects are suffered more acutely by the poor, migrants and minorities, it is important to adequately assess their needs.

Cities are magnets that attract migrants for the opportunities they offer but they must provide a safe and stable environment in order for people to prosper. As Herbert Girardet, an expert on urban sustainability has stated, “If we are to continue to live in cities, indeed if we are to continue to flourish on this planet, we will have to find a viable relationship between cities and the living world –a relationship not parasitic but symbiotic, or mutually supportive.”

Dr. Cesar Chelala, an international public health consultant, is the author of “Environmental impact on children’s health,” a publication of the Pan American Health Organization, the regional office of the World Health Organization.

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

June 04, 2020
Helen Yaffe
Leading by Example: Cuba in the Covid-19 Pandemic
John Davis
Our History is Our Future
Fred Baumgarten
Chamberlain v. White Plains: A Crack in the Wall for Police Killings?
Steven Newcomb
Domination and the Murder of George Floyd
Jen Moore
Defending Land and Water From Mining Profiteers in the Time of Covid-19
Jim Hightower
I Remember the Lynchings of the 60s. They’re Still Happening
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Abandons Open Skies for New Age Space Weapons
M. K. Bhadrakumar
NATO Returns to Libya to Challenge Russia
Dave Lindorff
Redistribution by Another Name
Thom Hartmann
How Immunity for Cops and Facebook Kills Americans
George Wuerthner
The Problem With Chainsaw Medicine: the Forest Service’s Move to Cut Oregon’s Big Trees
Victor Grossman
An Idea on Providing Coordination and Leadership
Rebecca Gordon
How the Credibility Gap Became a Chasm in the Age of Trump
Tom Clifford
With USA in Retreat, China Reassesses Its Options
Rafael Bernabe – Manuel Rodríguez Banchs
A Proposal from Afar: Trump Must Resign!
Binoy Kampmark
To the Commercial Heavens We Go! SpaceX, NASA and Space Privatisation
Brett Heinz
The UN’s Anti-Poverty Proposal for Latin America: a “Basic Emergency Income”
Peter Harrison
Four Aphorisms
June 03, 2020
Anthony DiMaggio
Revolution, Not Riots: Prospects for Radical Transformation in the Covid-19 Era
Jennifer Loewenstein
From Mississippi to Minneapolis: Leaving the ‘Abyss of Despair’
Kenneth Surin
The UK Compared With Other Countries on the Pandemic
Paul Street
“Total Domination”: Popular Rebellion in the Shadow of Trumpism-Fascism
Kenn Orphan
The Sadism of American Power
John Pilger
The Coup Against ‘The Most Loyal Ally’
Eric Murphy
The Police Are The Out-Of-Towners Provoking Violence
Melvin Goodman
How the Washington Post Accommodates Disinformation
Rev. William Alberts
It’s the Worshippers Who Are “Essential”
Georgina Downs
No, the Public Fury Will Not “Move On” Prime Minister!
George V. Wright
It is Happening Here
M. G. Piety
Tales from the Dark Side of Customer Service, or “Christians” Giving Christians a Bad Name
Chandra Muzaffar
A Superpower in Chaos
Thomas Knapp
Time to Stop Messing Around and Strike at the Root of Police Violence
Thomas M. Hanna
The Oligopoly That Controls Our Digital Infrastructure Has Deepened Economic and Racial Divides
Andrew Stewart
The Ethics of Police Murder Video Exhibition: Democratizing The News Feed, Re-Traumatizing The Survivors, Or Both?
Binoy Kampmark
Death, Protest and George Floyd
David Rovics
Who’s Trashing Downtown Every Night and Why?
Harvey Wasserman
Trump Is No Accident
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Biden and the Common Sense Voter
Timothy Ingalsbee
Ecosystems, Logging and the Definition of Insanity
Elliot Sperber
The Birds of Brooklyn
June 02, 2020
Zoltan Grossman
Deploying Federal Troops in a War at Home Would Make a Bad Situation Worse
Nicholas Buccola
Amy Cooper is Christian Cooper’s Lost, Younger Sister 
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming is Nuclear War
Patrick Cockburn
An Unavoidable Recognition of Failure: Trump’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan
John Feffer
Is It Time to Boycott the USA?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail