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CLEAN-Air(Africa) delivers successful public and stakeholder event in MBalmayo, Cameroon

The NIHR CLEAN-Air(Africa) Global Health Research Group successfully disseminated findings from their research into clean cooking for public health in Cameroon at a COVID-19 secure national public and stakeholder engagement event.  CLEAN-Air(Africa)’s Cameroon partner, Douala General Hospital, delivered the event in MBalmayo, Central Cameroon on Friday 12th March – one year since face to face research was ceased in the locality due to the advent of COVID-19 in the country.

Senior representatives from the Cameroon government’s Ministries of Water Resource and Energy (MINEE), Environment (MINEPDED) and Women Empowerment and the Family (MINPROF) met with members of the community of MBalmayo to hear the latest results from CLEAN-Air(Africa) presented by Professor MBatchou and his team from Douala General Hospital.  The meeting was launched with an update from Mr. Bello Roger, Sub Director for MINEE, describing the government’s implementation of the Cameroon LPG Masterplan, developed to scale access to clean cooking with LPG to 58% of the population by 2030.  

Mrs. Esong Miranda Lukong (field coordinator) presented results from the mixed-methods research employed by CLEAN-Air(Africa) to understand barriers and enablers to transitioning to clean cooking with LPG.  She revealed that levels of household air pollution from cooking with wood were very high in the community of MBalmayo and that, whilst there was enthusiasm for switching to LPG in the community, cost remained a crucial barrier with substantial competing demands on the household budget.  The messages were well received by the delegation of ministry representatives charged with developing policy for the successful implementation of the National LPG Masterplan.

Interactions between the delegation and community representatives included discussion of why bioLPG hasn’t been developed in the country given the abundance of degradable waste.  In addition, a presentation by Mr. Bidjanga Biloa (University Institute of Petroleum Sciences and Management, Yaounde) on the benefits of clean cooking with electricity (cost and time savings with an electric cooker) raised debate over its feasibility in Cameroon given poor power supply and frequent outages in the country. 

The event culminated in presentations to CLEAN-Air(Africa) study participants of framed photographs based on University of Liverpool led Photo Voice Research that the participants had helped with to capture use of domestic energy in the community.

Cameroon’s National Television Company (CRTV) covered the event airing the highlights as part of its main news programming the same day (available here).

Two-way public and stakeholder engagement core to development and dissemination of the research for CLEAN-Air(Africa) ensuring findings are both relevant and timely to inform national policy on scaling adoption of clean domestic energy.  For more information about this approach see https://www.cleanairafrica.com/our-work.