Collaboration with Kenya Medical Research Institute and University of Malawi.
More than 3 billion people globally rely on polluting energy sources for cooking and 3.8 million deaths are attributed to household air pollution annually. Moreover, 50% of pneumonia deaths in children under 5 are due to household air pollution (WHO https://www.who.int/airpollution/household). This disease burden is heavily borne by poor urban and semi-urban dwellers in low- and middle-income countries who cannot afford to connect to the modern energy infrastructure and who live in high density housing with limited ventilation. Women are usually responsible for cooking and childcare in the household, meaning that they frequently experience higher levels of pollution compared to men ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6158151/ ).
WHO WE ARE: We are an interdisciplinary group of researchers at the University of Stirling (Scotland, UK), collaborating on the design of a project evaluating the impact of air pollution on the health of women and children living in African informal settlements.
• Dr Isabelle Uny, Research Fellow, Institute for Social Marketing and Health Research
• Dr Heather Price, Lecturer in Biological and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences
• Dr Line Caes, Lecturer in Psychology, Division of Psychology, Faculty of Natural Sciences
• Dr Siân Lucas, Lecturer in Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences
Dr Price has a track record of working with the Air Network (www.airnetworkafrica.com) and Tupumue lung health (https://www.lstmed.ac.uk/news-events/news/mrcnrf-uk-kenya-joint-partnership-%E2%80%98tupumue%E2%80%99-launches-in-nairobi) projects in Kenya and has done some work in peri-urban Malawi. Dr Uny has a track record of working with colleagues in Malawi for 13 years in projects around girls’ education, community mobilisation for maternal health and community resilience to out of hospital care trauma from road traffic collisions ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/isabelleuny/).
RATIONALE & AIM of THE PROJECT: Previous studies have focused on measuring air pollution exposure or quantifying the impacts of air pollution on health. In contrast, this project will use interdisciplinary methods to explore household air pollution and health through the experiences of women and their children living in African informal settlements in Malawi and Kenya. The target countries for this work have similar urban air pollution problems, but are at different stages of development (see the DAC list) and are Malawi and Kenya.
We will use PAR methods and other interactive methods such as photovoice or video diaries to explore the perceptions of community members and work together to develop an intervention to address the health impact of HAP from cooking on dirty fuels. We are applying to the " GCRF - Cultures, Behaviours and Histories of Agriculture, Food, and Nutrition call" in Autumn 2019, guided by the funders that the call the call is deliberately open in scope and broad in its remit with regard to food systems and that any applications on any relevant topic are welcomed. Example areas mentioned which fit with our project are:
--Gender dynamics of food and nutrition
--Community dynamics around food and diet
--Coping with climate, weather and environmental risks in food systems
--Non-communicable diseases related to food practices
The project will establish a partnership with partners in Kenya and Malawi, and will invove small scale exploratory work in 2 communities in Malawi and Kenya.
We have identified partners in Kenya, and our partner in Malawi will be the Polytechnic at the University of Malawi ( Department of Environmental Health)
OUR WORK SO FAR
i. In Dec 2018 we organized a one-day workshop which brought together UK-based as well as international researchers (online) who exchanged current knowledge on household air pollution and impacts on health.
ii. Following from this we have conducted a scoping review on the topic to identify gaps in the current knowledge on household air pollution and health through the experiences of women and their children (to be submitted for publication in the Autumn of 2019).
iii. we are now preparing for the call to come out in Oct or Nov 2019