Urbanization is restructuring the nature of cities, particularly in South Africa (SA) and Africa, where informality is on the rise. These living conditions are associated with high levels of health disparities and inequities, and the urban poor are often exposed to poor housing conditions associated with an increased risk of infectious and chronic respiratory conditions. This highlights the need for policies and program interventions to directly address equity in order to improve population health. However, the health sector is but one player in health and human development, making Health in All Policies approaches, key to addressing these societal challenges. In Cape Town and SA, the housing focuses on upgrading the physical housing structure and community infrastructure. However these efforts are largely compartmentalized in the housing sector, and there is insufficient focus on health outcomes and health impact assessment of housing policies.
During this Fellowship, I propose to investigate and compare policies in Cape Town, South Africa, and New York, USA, also undergoing challenges around housing and health inequity. This will also serve to build and strengthen my North-South collaborations and networks with interdisciplinary urban health colleagues. During the Fellowship, as part of a research project for which I have sought funding, I will also explore knowledge and barriers of policymakers to incorporating health objectives into housing policies.