The University of Liverpool is working with partners to address the burden of disease from household air pollution to stop the preventable deaths of thousands of Kenyans, predominantly women.
Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, Kenyan communities rely on polluting fuels such as wood, charcoal and kerosene for cooking. Research led by the University of Liverpool and international colleagues has shown that exposure to household air pollution from burning these fuels is one of the biggest risk factors for global disease killing more than 23,000 Kenyans each year (Kenyan Ministry of Health, 2021).
In response, the University of Liverpool, the Mama Doing Good Foundation, an initiative of the Office of the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya, and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), have signed a 5-year agreement to collaborate on clean air and clean cooking. Their aim is to reduce household air pollution and improve community health.
The partnership will train all 130,000 Kenyan community health workers nationally in prevention of household air pollution to address the associated burden of disease. The partnership will also help drive the clean cooking agenda in Kenya by providing policy relevant evidence for scaling the transition to clean fuels in households and institutions.
Professor Daniel Pope, Director of CLEAN-Air(Africa) and Professor of Global Health at the University of Liverpool, said, "This partnership will help drive policy to benefit millions of Kenyans through cleaner air and will set the scene for similar action across East Africa and the sub-Saharan African region."
This partnership will enhance coordination, consultation, and exchange of information, which will lead to increased demand for clean cooking solutions and a reduction in air pollution, and improved community health.
Dr. John Chumo, CEO of the Mama Doing Good Foundation, said: "This partnership reinforces the First Lady’s commitment to ensuring that women are socially and economically empowered to transition from solid biomass cooking methods to clean cooking methods, which will reduce household air pollution and air pollution-related disease burden through behaviour change communication by the Community Health Workers."
Dr. James Mwitari, senior research fellow at KEMRI and co-director of CLEAN-Air (Africa), said: "The partnership will help Kenya lead the way in primary and secondary prevention of household air pollution-related illness through clean cooking and the empowerment of the community health workforce."
This agreement is the latest part of ongoing work by the NIHR CLEAN-Air(Africa) Global Health Research Unit. This global health research team received £7 million from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) in 2022 to build on vital work to rapidly scale clean energy access to improve health, gender equality and climate in sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative is being co-directed by the University of Liverpool and colleagues from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) with partners from Kenya, Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. More can be found out at www.cleanairafrica.com
Subject of Research