Living in uncertainty due to floods and pollution: The health status and quality of life of people living on an unhealthy riverbank

Fredrick Dermawan Purba*, Joke A.M. Hunfeld, Titi Sahidah Fitriana, Aulia Iskandarsyah, Sawitri S. Sadarjoen, Jan J.V. Busschbach, Jan Passchier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: People living on the banks of polluted rivers with yearly flooding lived in impoverished and physically unhealthy circumstances. However, they were reluctant to move or be relocated to other locations where better living conditions were available. This study aimed to investigate the health status, quality of life (QoL), happiness, and life satisfaction of the people who were living on the banks of one of the main rivers in Jakarta, Indonesia, the Ciliwung. Methods: Respondents were 17 years and older and recruited from the Bukit Duri community (n = 204). Three comparison samples comprised: i) a socio-demographically matched control group, not living on the river bank (n = 204); ii) inhabitants of Jakarta (n = 305), and iii) the Indonesian general population (n = 1041). Health status and QoL were measured utilizing EQ-5D-5L, WHOQOL-BREF, the Happiness Scale, and the Life Satisfaction Index. A visual analogue scale question concerning respondents' financial situations was added. MANOVA and multivariate regression analysis were used to analyze the differences between the Ciliwung respondents and the three comparison groups. Results: The Ciliwung respondents reported lower physical QoL on WHOQOL-BREF and less personal happiness than the matched controls but rated their health (EQ-5D-5L) and life satisfaction better than the matched controls. Similar results were obtained by comparison with the Jakarta inhabitants and the general population. Bukit Duri inhabitants also perceived themselves as being in a better financial situation than the three comparison groups even though their incomes were lower. Conclusions: The recent relocation to a better environment with better housing might improve the former Ciliwung inhabitants' quality of life and happiness, but not necessarily their perceived health, satisfaction with life, and financial situations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number782
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2018


  • Happiness
  • Health status
  • Indonesia
  • Life satisfaction
  • Quality of life
  • Water pollution


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