News / Africa

Kenyan Cookstoves Don’t Significantly Reduce Pollution

Saving money is one of the many benefits of clean cookstoves, which use natural gas, solar power or electricity, Kenya, May 2, 2012. Saving money is one of the many benefits of clean cookstoves, which use natural gas, solar power or electricity, Kenya, May 2, 2012.
x
Saving money is one of the many benefits of clean cookstoves, which use natural gas, solar power or electricity, Kenya, May 2, 2012.
Saving money is one of the many benefits of clean cookstoves, which use natural gas, solar power or electricity, Kenya, May 2, 2012.

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
A recent study examining the health impacts of ceramic cookstoves used in rural Kenyan households found that the risk of pneumonia in children was not significantly reduced.  The findings were published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and are said to be the first of their kind. 

Dr. Rob Quick, a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, said he and other researchers conducted a year-long observational study of the health impact of the ceramic stoves called upesi jikos on pneumonia in children under three years old.

“We found after a year that the use of these stoves did not significantly reduce the risk of pneumonia when compared to 3-stone fire pits that are used commonly in that area of Africa,” stated Quick, who also explained the stoves are produced locally according to a standard design and are popular.

“They reduce smoke substantially in the homes, which is one of the sources of their popularity.  They also reduce the risk of children getting burns.  And they provide convenient surface for women to prepare food on.   So these stoves are desirable for a number of other reasons, and we expect that women will continue to use them.  However, we would like to do something about the risk of pneumonia.  To that end, our group is studying six novel cookstove technologies designed to cleaner burning, and we should have results in the next few months to see if one or more of these cookstove designs offer potential for reducing the risk of pneumonia.”     

Quick pointed out that if they do find a stove that does lower the risk of pneumonia in children, then they will attempt to do a subsequent study on that stove to document the health impact.  At present thousands of households in Kenya own the ceramic indoor cookstoves.  Part of the reason for this, said Quick, is that the stoves are economical.

“Ceramic liner costs between two and three dollars—three U.S. dollars.  The installation maybe costs fifty cents to a dollar.  So, for people who earn less than a dollar, these stoves are very affordable.  As I mentioned earlier, they have a number of very desirable characteristics.  So they’re inexpensive and they’re relatively easy to install, and they support the local economy.   People make them, sell them, and install them.  So, they’re essentially creating jobs for people.”  

In the meantime, as research continues on finding improvements in the air quality resulting from the stoves, Quick explained there are some things women—as the main cooks in the household—can do to lower the risks of respiratory symptoms.

“Using these upesi jikos stoves is much preferable to the 3-stone fire pits—the traditional fires—you know which is essentially like a campfire, you know, with all of the smoke and everything, that’s worse.  But, they can do one of two things, if they’re going to use 3-stone fire pits, they can cook outside when weather permits, so the smoke doesn’t fill the house.  The other option is either to build a chimney in the house for the smoke to exit through, or to at least somehow create an opening near the stove for smoke to exit.  But honestly to really make this happen, you need cleaner burning stoves.”      

Quick emphasized that the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is a partnership of governments, private companies, non-governmental organizations, and other organizations that include the U.N. and the WHO, with the goal of providing cookstoves to 100 million households.

“The reason for this alliance is this very large global problem of people burning these fires in their homes which put children at risk of pneumonia, put people at risk of burns, and also contribute to climate change.  The goal is to develop cleaner burning cookstoves that alleviate all these problems and move populations, particularly in the developing world, to a position of better health.”

Dr. David H. Walker, the new president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, said “this research on cookstoves illustrates that the approach to improving children’s health must employ strategies that take a holistic view of the child, one that includes the home.”   He added that further studies will help determine where to allocate the increasingly dwindling funding for such studies.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid