Informal settlement globally has been known to provide a cheaper alternative for those who may not afford the costly city life.
But as it emerges life in informal settlements in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, could be costly than the standard cost of living in the city.
In a shocking revelation by the head of state during the state of the nation address, the president disclosed that slum dwellers in the capital are paying more for social amenities than other city dwellers in the capital.
President Kenyatta in his speech noted,” the poverty of dignity is most pronounced in water scarce economy of the informal settlements and in vulnerable communities. For instance, the average daily consumption of water per house hold in informal settlement in Nairobi is 40 liters.”
The President added that,” if the price of 40 liters is 40 shilling a household will have to spend an average of 1200 shillings per month buying water alone. “
Noting that the amount is 20 per cent of the income of an average family in most of the informal settlements taking note that the price of water in the informal sector is higher than that of rent.
“The poverty of dignity is well illustrated when one considers that the price of water for the rest of Nairobi is Kenya shillings 46 per 1000 liters. Put differently the dwellers of our informal settlement have been paying 25 times more for water compared to the rest of Nairobi dwellers for water “
In the same speech, the president took note of how the informal sector residents have to pay more for healthcare noting that some areas have no functional health facility, forcing the residence to seek medical attention from private facilities which cost money.
“During one of my inspection tours during the covid period in mukuru kwa ruben I was saddened to learn that 500,000 people were being served by a private health facility which only had 8 beds”
The president also highlighted the risk of such facilities noting that “a woman giving birth at this facility cannot be admitted for more than two hours, in fact after giving birth she had to get out in one or two hours in order to give ways for other patients.”
Women who have been forced to use such facilities could only stay longer if they have complication or the family raises more funds to take them to other facilities. This even as the government pushes for free maternity services for all.
President Kenyatta's government is constructing 15 health facilities in the Nairobi metropolitan area but for the time being those in the informal settlements will continue paying a costly price for basic social amenities
At the moment, there are approximately 2.5 million slum dwellers in the 200 settlements in Nairobi representing 60% of the county’s population.