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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Health and ageing in Nairobi’s informal settlements-evidence from the International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health (INDEPTH): a cross sectional study

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Boniface Wilunda, Nawi Ng, Jennifer Stewart Williams
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

There are no competing interests to declare.

Authors’ contributions

BW made a substantial contribution to the conception of the study, analyzed data, contributed to writing of the first draft of the paper. NN participated in the conception of the manuscript and provided critical inputs to the analysis and the Discussion. JSW wrote the first and last drafts and advised at all stages of the manuscript. All authors provided critical inputs to the drafts of the manuscript at all stages and approved the final draft.

Authors’ information

In this work, JSW and NN were supported by the FORTE grant for the Umeå Centre for Global Health Research (No. 2006–1512). NN was also supported by the project ‘Paths to Healthy and Active Ageing’ funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, Dnr: 2013–2056. BLW was supported by the Erling Persson Family Foundation Scholarship through Umeå University. The funders had no role in study design, data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.



Much of the focus on population ageing has been in high-income counties. Relatively less attention is given to the world’s poorest region, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where children and adolescents still comprise a high proportion of the population. Yet the number of adults aged 60-plus in SSA is already twice that in northern Europe. In addition, SSA is experiencing massive rural to urban migration with consequent expansion of informal urban settlements, or slums, whose health problems are usually unrecognised and not addressed. This study aims to improve understanding of functional health and well-being in older adult slum-dwellers in Nairobi (Kenya).


The study sample comprised men and women, aged 50 years and over, living in Korogocho and Viwandani, Nairobi, Kenya (n = 1,878). Data from the International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health (INDEPTH) and the WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE Wave 1) were analysed. The prevalence of poor self-reported quality of life (QoL) and difficulties in domain-specific function is estimated by age and sex. Logistic regression investigates associations between difficulties in the domains of function and poor QoL, adjusting for age, sex and socio-demographic factors. Statistical significance is set at P<0.05.


Women reported poorer QoL and greater functional difficulties than men in all domains except self-care. In the multivariable logistic regression the odds of poor QoL among respondents with problems or difficulties in relation to affect (OR = 7.0; 95%CI = 3.0-16.0), pain/discomfort (OR = 3.6; 95%CI = 2.3-5.8), cognition (OR = 1.8; 95 %CI = 1.2-2.9) and mobility (OR = 1.8; 95%CI = 1.1-2.8) were statistically significant.


The findings underscore differences in the domains of functional health that encapsulate women and men’s capacities to perform regular activities and the impact of poor functioning on QoL. Investing in the health and QoL of older people in SSA will be crucial in helping the region to realise key development goals and in opening opportunities for improved health outcomes and sustainable economic development.
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