The Silent Killer in the Kitchen
Addressing the environmental health burden of household air pollution
3 minute video for NIHR CLEAN-Air(Africa) Global Health Research Group – story boardOne: Three billion people across the developing world still rely on wood, charcoal and kerosene for their everyday cooking.
The resulting household air pollution remains one of the world’s greatest environmental health challenges, causing some 3 million deaths each year, from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, stroke and cancer in adults, and pneumonia in children.
Here at the University of Liverpool, our NIHR CLEAN-Air(Africa) Global Health Research Group is working with the World Health Organisation to support rapid scale of clean household energy such as liquefied petroleum gas and electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.
CLEAN-Air(Africa) is providing policy relevant evidence for governments committed to helping their populations switch away from polluting fuels. In terms of clean fuel options, our studies show LPG has the best potential for scale-up, will yield big health gains and, despite being a fossil fuel, is neutral in terms of climate impact.
Among the barriers to change, our work has identified affordability as key. For LPG, this includes upfront equipment costs, as well as the large outlay on cylinder refills which is a problem for those used to buying small quantities of charcoal or kerosene.
Pay as you go LPG is an innovative solution to these barriers that is gaining ground in East Africa.
For example, PayGo Energy (in Kenya) provides the cooker and bottle, while a smartmeter allows customers to buy the amount they can afford, using mobile money.
The meter displays credit for the user, and is networked to the supplier who arranges delivery of a new cylinder when the level is low. Following installation, safety checks are made.
Circle Gas (known locally as M Gas) is another East African provider which employs smart meter and mobile technology. CLEAN-Air(Africa) will be evaluating scale-up; - looking at use, health and gender impacts, and costs.
We are working with the Kenyan Ministry of Health to address household air pollution at a population level.
Dr James Mwitari, Chair of the Ministry’s Technical Working Group, explains the role that Community Health Workers can play.....
40 seconds of Dr Mwitari showing CAA training
CLEAN-Air(Africa) has helped the Ministry develop a national training programme covering: health risks, options for clean cooking, lighting and heating (including testing of improved cookstoves), and measurement of air pollution.
The training will be delivered to the 100,000 strong community health workforce, across all 47 counties, starting later this year.
UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 seeks to “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030!
On current trends Africa will not reach this milestone!!!
Further immediate development of evidence-based policy, and appropriate levels of investment, are urgently needed if these stark inequalities in energy poverty are to be addressed.