Urban Planning and Public Health in Africa
Historical, Theoretical and Practical Dimensions of a Continent's Water and Sanitation Problematic
Established indicators of development suggest that, as a group, African countries lag behind their counterparts in other regions with respect to public health. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that the public health problems of these countries are rooted in preventable causes associated with hygiene and sanitation. It is customary to attribute the problems that ail Africa to the lack of financial resources. This book deviates from convention by suggesting non-financial factors as the source of sanitation problems on the continent, and argues the need to re-connect urban planning to public health. These two professions are consanguine relatives and emerged to combat the negative externalities of the industrial revolution and concomitant urbanization. However, with the passage of time, the professions drifted apart. Today, more than ever, there is a need for the two to be re-connected. This need is rooted in the increasing complexity of urban problems whose resolution requires interdisciplinary initiatives. To this end, there is hardly any question that urban public health initiatives are unlikely to succeed without the collaboration of both public health and urban planning experts. The book recognizes this truism, and stands as the first major academic work to demonstrate the inextricably intertwined nature of urban planning and urban public health in Africa.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; A brief history of public health and the built environment; The state, ideology, health and built space in Africa; Town planning, public health and the colonial project; Racism versus health concerns as the rationale for racial segregation; Public health implications of modernist planning; Hygiene and sanitation conditions in West and Central Africa; Hygiene and sanitation in the Eastern and Southern Africa region; Hygiene and sanitation in Northern Africa; Solid waste disposal and sanitation technologies, and determinants of access to improved sanitation; Sustainable hygiene and sanitation strategies; References; Index.
'This timely work fills a very significant gap in the planning literature on Africa, examining how certain hygiene and sanitation concerns can be adequately dealt with by deliberately planning the built environment in Africa. The discussions, arguments and assertions presented by Professor Njoh are bold, refreshing and compelling and the work is replete with useful information and data that will definitely improve the research and understanding of planning and health matters in Africa. Providing both the theoretical and applied approaches as to how the problems can be tackled, and putting forward practical and affordable strategies and solutions, the book should empower local citizens, mid-management officials and international development organizations, as well as being an excellent resource to students and scholars of development.' Valentine James, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, USA 'Healthier conditions exist where European colonisation lasted longest. Paradoxically, this surprising conclusion argues for traditional actions like communal work to replace modern European solutions that so patently fail to remove the life-robbing conditions - so vividly pictured here - to which most Africans are prey. Njoh's command of appropriate case-specific detail is unmatched. Michael Mattingly, DPU-Associates, formerly of the Development Planning Unit, University College London, UK