HOUSING OPTIONS AND INCIDENCE OF COMMON ILLNESS OF MARGINALIZED GROUPS: THE CASE OF FEMALE HEAD PORTERS IN URBAN GHANA
Housing serves as protection against communicable diseases, injury, chronic diseases, exposure to psychological and social stress, and promotes provision of neighbourhood services. Migrant Female head porters (kayayei) who are part of marginalized group in Ghana do not have access to decent housing. This study aims at analyzing the socio-demographic and economic factors influencing the choice of housing and their ill-health implications. The study through simple random sampling technique sampled 400 kayayei from Kumasi Metropolis (Kejetia, Bantama and Alaba) and Accra Metropolis (Agbogboloshie, Kantamanto, and Mallam Atta Market). We used multinomial logistic regression and binary logistic regression to analyze factors influencing housing choices and impact of housing choices on ill-health among the kayayei respectively. Ill- health (sicknesses) considered in this study were malaria incidence, heat burns incidence and cholera incidence. The common housing choices in descending order were wooden shacks, open spaces, rented houses and uncompleted building. Kayayei with secondary education were significantly more likely to live in rented houses than wooden shacks and open spaces. Kayayie who had relation in the study areas were significantly less likely to live in rented houses than open spaces. Kayayei who earned above GH¢350 per month were significantly more likely to live in rented houses than uncompleted houses. Kayayie who lived in rented houses with toilet facilities were significantly less likely to be infected with heat burns, malaria and cholera within every quarter of a year. Those who lived in wooden shacks with toilet facilities were significantly less likely to be infected with cholera within every quarter of a year but not heat burns and malaria. We argue that to reduce ill-health among marginalized groups and subsequent avoidable burden on National Health Insurance Scheme, the Government of Ghana should relook at the housing options and their conditions for these groups.