A Debt of Gratitude

For a while now I have been working closely with the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), which is based in Nairobi, Kenya. Last week’s issue of the Lancet carried an article on the APHRC, where they paid tribute to the outgoing director Alex Ezeh.[1] Alex had the wisdom to identify the enormous challenge posed by the rapidly expanding slums in African cities. He and his colleagues have produced ground-breaking work on health dynamics in urban slums. He was my inspiration, and I followed where he led. Together we compiled a Lancet Series summarising the state of the literature regarding the health of people living in the slums and proposing models to inform future research and policy making.[2] [3] These studies were recently summarised in the African version of ‘The Conversation’.[4] Our work has resulted in the award of a NIHR unit to study the provision of healthcare in slums in Africa and Asia. We have also secured funds from the Rockefeller foundation to run a Bellagio conference on statistical aspects of slum health. Currently, we are pursuing research into water and sanitation in slums, as this is one of the biggest problems leading to diarrhoea, stunting and death, especially in children under the age of five.

I have an enormous debt of gratitude to APHRC in general and Alex Ezeh in particular. I look forward to my ongoing association with Alex and to working very closely with his outstanding successor, Catherine Kyobutungi, who was also profiled in last week’s Lancet.[5]

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


    1. Green A. The African Population and Health Research Center. Lancet. 2017; 390: 1940.
    2. Ezeh A, Oyebode O, Satterthwaite D, et al. The history, geography, and sociology of slums and the health problems of people who live in slums. Lancet. 2017; 389: 547-58.
    3. Lilford RJ, Oyebode O, Satterthwaite D, et al. Improving the Health and Welfare of People Living in Slums. Lancet .2017; 389: 559-70.
    4. Ezeh A, Sewankambo N, Plot P. Why the Path to Longer and Healthier Lives for all Africans is in Reach. The Conversation. 13 September 2017.
    5. Berman P. Catherine Kyobutungi: leading African health research capacity. Lancet. 2017; 390: 1942.



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