Coping with COVID-19 measures in informal settlements

One of the most, if not the most, at-risk groups of COVID-19 is thought to be the urban poor, living in overcrowded conditions with very limited access to public (health) infrastructure. One billion people live in such informal settlements, more than half of these in Asia, almost a fifth in India.

Their ability to follow governments’ and scientists’ advise on mitigation strategies, such as handwashing, social distancing, and the shielding of elderly and vulnerable groups, will be significantly hampered by the hardships they face on a daily basis, which include lack of access to water and sanitation systems (at home) and overcrowded living. To add to their hardship in implementing necessary measures to stop the spread of the virus, their reliance on casual labour and micro-businesses implies an unreplaced loss of income resulting from the measures. Supporting this highly vulnerable group is further impeded by lack of data on this population.

This project aims to generate data on how slum dwellers are coping with policy responses to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to have impact on policymaking in three areas:

  • On hygiene practices, by showing to what extent this highly vulnerable group is following government advice and how this is a function of the constraints they face.
  • On containment measures, by showing to what extent citizens living in over-crowded areas, such as slum dwellers, are able to self-isolate.
  • On the economic impact of the crisis, by providing data on the extent to which slum dwellers are able to maintain their economic activity and employment.

Outputs

  • Blog post

    COVID-19 and the willingness to vaccinate: Evidence from India

    Vaccination is one of the success stories in modern day medicine and seen by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a key element of the response to the current pandemic. While billions are poured into a vaccine’s development and tackling supply difficulties, policymakers should prepare for the next challenges: compliance and ability to pay. One of the most, if not the...

    5 Aug 2020 | Alex Armand, Britta Augsburg, Antonella Bancalari

  • Publication - Project Report

    Coping with COVID-19 in slums: Evidence from India

    One of the most, if not the most, at-risk groups of COVID-19 is the urban poor, living in overcrowded conditions with very limited access to public (health) infrastructure. Along these hardships, misinformation about ways to prevent COVID-19 is widespread. In this study, we first evaluate slum dwellers’ ability to follow governments’ and scientists’ advise...

    20 Jan 2021 | Alex Armand, Britta Augsburg, Antonella Bancalari

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    COVID-19 and fake news: Counteracting misinformation in India’s slums

    One of the most, if not the most, at-risk groups for contracting COVID-19 is the urban poor, living in overcrowded conditions with very limited access to public (health) infrastructure. Our study considered slums of two Indian cities in Uttar Pradesh – Lucknow and Kanpur. Slum dwellers lost their livelihoods, experienced reductions in income, and the majority were not...

    21 Jan 2021 | Britta Augsburg, Alex Armand, Antonella Bancalari