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Effects of Cooking Fuels on Acute Respiratory Infections in Children in Tanzania
Authors: James H. Kilabuko, and Satoshi Nakai
Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 4(4), 283-288; doi:10.3390/ijerph200704040003
Topic(s): Child health
Household solid fuel use
Country: Africa
Published: DEC 2007
Abstract: Biomass fuels, charcoal and kerosene are the most used cooking fuels in Tanzania. Biomass fuel use has been linked to Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) in children. It is not clear whether the use of charcoal and kerosene has health advantage over biomass fuels. In this study, the effects of biomass fuels, charcoal/kerosene on ARI in children under five years old in Tanzania are quantified and compared based on data from Tanzania Demographic and Health survey conducted between 2004 and 2005. Approximately 85% and 15% of children were from biomass fuels and charcoal/kerosene using homes respectively. Average ARI prevalence was about 11%. The prevalence of ARI across various fuel types used for cooking did not vary much from the national prevalence. Odds ratio for ARI, adjusting for child’s sex, age and place of residence; mother’s education, mother’s age at child birth and household living standard, indicated that the effect of biomass fuels on ARI is the same as the effect of charcoal/kerosene (OR 1.01; 95% CI: 0.78-1.42). The findings suggest that to achieve meaningful reduction of ARI prevalence in Tanzania, a shift from the use of biomass fuels, charcoal and kerosene for cooking to clean fuels such as gas and electricity may be essential. Further studies, however, are needed for concrete policy recommendation.