Relatively little is known about readiness of urban health systems to address health needs of the poor. This study explored stakeholders' perception of health needs and strategies for improving health of the urban poor using qualitative analysis. Focus group discussions (n = 5) were held with 26 stakeholders drawn from two Nigerian states during a workshop. Urban areas are characterised by double burden of diseases. Poor housing, lack of basic amenities, poverty, and poor access to information are determinants of health of the urban poor. Shortage of health workers, stock-out of medicines, high cost of care, lack of clinical practice guidelines, and dual practice constrain access to primary health services. An overarching strategy, that prioritises community-driven urban planning, health-in-all policies, structured linkages between informal and formal providers, financial protection schemes, and strengthening of primary health care system, is required to address health needs of the urban poor.
Keywords: health priorities; health problems; health system; unmet needs; urban poor.