Urban refugees in Nairobi: tackling barriers to accessing housing, services and infrastructure
Men, women and children who are forced to flee their homes often bear the mental or physical scars of conflict. Refugees’ arduous journeys to urban areas and the conditions they encounter there can present further health challenges. In our study of refugees living in the Kenyan capital, participants named adequate healthcare and housing as essential needs that they struggle to meet. Many face significant obstacles to accessing healthcare, including cost, lack of documentation and language barriers. Living conditions are a linked concern: overcrowded housing with inadequate water, sanitation and energy can negatively affect refugees’ health. With unknown numbers of refugees living in Nairobi’s informal settlements and other low-income areas, conflict with host communities is also a well-being issue. This paper discusses the need to reduce conflict and dismantle the barriers that prevent urban refugees accessing the healthcare, housing and infrastructure they need.