Globally 3 billion people rely on polluting solid fuels (wood, charcoal) or kerosene for cooking and heating their homes. Exposure to household air pollution (HAP) from burning these fuels is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia in children under 5 years, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in adults and adverse pregnancy outcomes. In sub-Saharan Africa, where a substantial proportion of people rely on these fuels, HAP is responsible for more than 680,000 premature deaths each year, greater mortality than for both malaria and HIV/AIDs.
To address this major public health issue, the NIHR CLEAN-Air(Africa) Global Health Research Group aims to (i) inform national policies to scale access to and adoption of clean household energy, (ii) demonstrate the positive impacts on health and climate from populations switching to clean household fuels and (iii) strengthen health systems to empower community led prevention to fight against household air pollution.
Household air pollution from solid fuel use is the largest global environmental risk factor for health
CLEAN-Air(Africa) is led by research experts, physicians and academics from the Universities of Liverpool, Moi University and AMREF International University, (Kenya), Douala General Hospital (Cameroon), University of Ghana and Kintampo Health Research Centre (Ghana). It is sponsored by the National Institute of Health Research in the UK to provide evidence for policies to address the burden of infectious and chronic diseases from household air pollution. The CLEAN-Air(Africa) Group is conducting a program of mixed-methods research in Cameroon, Ghana and Kenya to support communities adopt clean household energy alongside national government policies to scale household use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to reduce the negative impacts on health, deforestation and climate of reliance on solid fuels and kerosene for cooking.
CLEAN-Air(Africa) is also conducting a program of capacity building engaging with the health systems (ministries of health, health authorities, WHO country offices) to provide training for health work forces on household air pollution and health to raise population awareness of household air pollution as a major risk factor for health and understand prevention strategies through clean household energy and harm minimisation.