Indoor air pollution is a major public health concern in Uganda and sub-Saharan Africa, with serious implications for lung health and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that indoor air pollution is responsible for more than 4 million deaths each year, making it one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
In Uganda and other sub-Saharan African countries, the primary source of indoor air pollution is the burning of solid fuels such as wood, charcoal, and dung for cooking and heating. This type of fuel burning releases a variety of pollutants, including particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and other toxic gases. These pollutants can cause a range of health problems, including respiratory infections, asthma, and other chronic lung diseases. In addition, exposure to indoor air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of NCDs such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
The primary cause of indoor air pollution in Uganda and other sub-Saharan African countries is the lack of access to clean and efficient energy sources. Many households rely on traditional fuels such as wood, charcoal, and dung due to their affordability and availability. In addition, many households lack access to electricity, which limits their ability to use cleaner energy sources such as gas or electric stoves.
Fortunately, there are a number of solutions that can help reduce indoor air pollution in Uganda and other sub-Saharan African countries. Support from AstraZeneca Young Health Program is helping to promote the use of cleaner and more efficient energy sources such as solar, gas or electric stoves. In addition, we’re skilling local youth entrepreneurs and artisan with skills to produce efficient cooking stoves, enhance marketing and behavior change communication skills to nudge households to use improved cookstoves, which are designed to reduce smoke and other pollutants. The intervention is empowering health workers and community health workers to improve their competencies in screening, and identifying affected persons and households who are linked to the health system for urgent care.
We’re also engaged in advocacy with the leadership, both locally and nationally to address the bottlenecks to clean energy adoption especially in rural Uganda which includes; increasing investment in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power to provide clean and affordable energy to households, address gaps in the healthcare system, as well as expanding tax exception for key inputs needed for local production.
In conclusion, indoor air pollution is a major public health concern in Uganda and other sub-Saharan African countries, with serious implications for lung health and NCDs. To address this problem, governments and other stakeholders must invest in clean and efficient energy sources, promote the use of improved cookstoves, and invest in renewable energy sources. By taking these steps, we can reduce indoor air pollution and improve the health of people in Uganda and other sub-Saharan African countries.