In Summary
  • WHO says exposure to indoor air pollution from charcoal, firewood and other solid cooking fuels causes the premature deaths of 4.3 million people yearly.

  • Clean cook stoves should go with clean and modern cooking energy to eliminate indoor pollution, a leading cause of cancer, pneumonia and respiratory diseases.
  • UN-backed project to get 100 million clean cook stoves into homes, including in Kenya, is ongoing.

I read with great interest a recent article by Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and Dr Rudolf Eggers, WHO Representative to Kenya (DN, April 17). It is laudable that the ministry is committed to knocking down communicable diseases (NCDs), given the significance in achieving universal healthcare in five years.

But the government must incorporate and implement strategies to prevent NCDs, key among them acute lower respiratory disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, some cancers and eye diseases.

WHO says exposure to indoor air pollution from charcoal, firewood and other solid cooking fuels causes the premature deaths of 4.3 million people yearly from pneumonia, chronic lung disease and lung cancer, as well as ill-health and the loss of productivity among millions more.

POLLUTION

Majority of them are women and children; women are usually responsible for cooking and small children are often close to their mothers.

Results of a 2016 study in Kenya linked indoor pollution to 14,300 deaths annually. But a clinical study in Malawi indicated that improved or clean cook stoves do not prevent child mortality from indoor pollution-related diseases. Sadly, attention is hardly given to the link between indoor pollution and child mortality, as well as low birth weight, in Kenya.

Clean cook stoves should go with clean and modern cooking energy to eliminate indoor pollution, a leading cause of cancer, pneumonia, respiratory and eye diseases. A UN-backed project to get 100 million clean cook stoves into homes, including in Kenya, is ongoing.

FOREST COVER

Besides solid cooking fuels’ contribution to NCDs, Kenya’s natural forest cover has been stripped due to the unsustainable over-reliance on wood fuel as a source of primary energy. Deforestation has caused climate change and food insecurity and poses malnutrition risks that lead to preventable illness, especially in children.

Page 1 of 2