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Multisectoral interventions for urban health in Africa: a mixed-methods systematic review

Thondoo, Meelan, Mogo, Ebele R.I., Tatah, Lambed, Muti, Monica, van Daalen, Kim R., Muzenda, Trish, Boscott, Rachel, Uwais, Omar, Farmer, George, Yue, Adelaide, Dalzell, Sarah, Mukoma, Gudani, Bhagtani, Divya, Matina, Sostina, Dambisya, Philip M., Okop, Kufre, Ebikeme, Charles, Micklesfield, Lisa and Oni, Tolu (2024) Multisectoral interventions for urban health in Africa: a mixed-methods systematic review. Global Health Action, 17 (1). ISSN 1654-9880

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Identification Number: 10.1080/16549716.2024.2325726


Increasing evidence suggests that urban health objectives are best achieved through a multisectoral approach. This approach requires multiple sectors to consider health and well-being as a central aspect of their policy development and implementation, recognising that numerous determinants of health lie outside (or beyond the confines of) the health sector. However, collaboration across sectors remains scarce and multisectoral interventions to support health are lacking in Africa. To address this gap in research, we conducted a mixed-method systematic review of multisectoral interventions aimed at enhancing health, with a particular focus on non-communicable diseases in urban African settings. Africa is the world’s fastest urbanising region, making it a critical context in which to examine the impact of multisectoral approaches to improve health. This systematic review provides a valuable overview of current knowledge on multisectoral urban health interventions and enables the identification of existing knowledge gaps, and consequently, avenues for future research. We searched four academic databases (PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Global Health) for evidence dated 1989–2019 and identified grey literature from expert input. We identified 53 articles (17 quantitative, 20 qualitative, 12 mixed methods) involving collaborations across 22 sectors and 16 African countries. The principle guiding the majority of the multisectoral interventions was community health equity (39.6%), followed by healthy cities and healthy urban governance principles (32.1%). Targeted health outcomes were diverse, spanning behaviour, environmental and active participation from communities. With only 2% of all studies focusing on health equity as an outcome and with 47% of studies published by first authors located outside Africa, this review underlines the need for future research to prioritise equity both in terms of research outcomes and processes. A synthesised framework of seven interconnected components showcases an ecosystem on multisectoral interventions for urban health that can be examined in the future research in African urban settings that can benefit the health of people and the planet. Paper ContextMain findings: Multisectoral interventions were identified in 27.8% of African countries in the African Union, targeted at major cities with five sectors present at all intervention stages: academia or research, agriculture, government, health, and non-governmental. Added knowledge: We propose a synthesised framework showcasing an ecosystem on multisectoral interventions for urban health that can guide future research in African urban settings. Global health impact for policy and action: This study reveals a crucial gap in evidence on evaluating the long-term impact of multisectoral interventions and calls for partnerships involving various sectors and robust community engagement to effectively deliver and sustain health-promoting policies and actions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: LSE Health
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2024 10:27
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2024 18:54

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