The residents of slums in the federal capital city of Islamabad particularly women and children were at serious health risk due to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities, and lack of awareness for cleanliness in their dwellings.
According to a report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), the unplanned urbanization resulting in poorly settled human settlements was creating a serious health risk due to a lack of basic amenities.
The population in urban slums, which are home to an estimated 828 million people, one-third of the world urban population has observed a huge increase which is detrimental for the environment and human health.
N-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 means housing that is located away from natural or manmade hazards; it is structurally safe and protective against extreme weather. Crowding and economic deprivation further exacerbate the housing and health risks of slum dwellers.
Moreover, overpopulated and substandard housing facilities and 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 the 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 (ICT) where people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds reside that had last proper sanitation and defection facility.