Monday, February 06, 2017

WORLD HEALTH - Cleaner Cookstoves

"Can a cleaner cookstove save lives?" PBS NewsHour 2/1/2017


SUMMARY:  Nearly half of the world's population cooks using stoves that burn fuel like wood or charcoal, creating harmful -- even deadly -- smoke when inhaled.  In Ghana, where cooking with wood is the norm, there's a study underway to find out whether cleaner, more efficient cookstoves can reduce the toxic health effects to those most at risk:  women and their babies.  Hari Sreenivasan reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Nearly half of the world's population, three billion people, cook using stoves that burn wood or charcoal.

That seemingly harmless act is silently killing millions every year because of regular exposure to harmful smoke.  An international alliance is on a mission now to reduce those deaths by distributing 100 million cleaner stoves around the world.

But some health experts doubt whether those new stoves can truly save lives.

As Hari Sreenivasan reports in a story produced with Global Health Frontiers, researchers in Ghana are trying to find the answer.

DR. KWAKU POKU ASANTE, Kintampo Health Research Center:  Most of our communities and households in Ghana, and actually in Africa, are rural by nature, and therefore they depend on wood to cook their food, to heat their water.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Dr. Kwaku Poku Asante is the head of research at the Kintampo Health Research Center of the Ghana Health Service.  He's leading a study on the effects of wood smoke on the health of women and children in rural Ghana.

DR. KWAKU POKU ASANTE:  The women who do commercial cooking with the traditional cookstoves, they get a very large amount of smoke coming out of the wood.  And, sometimes, you see them with their kids on their back, and that is really a problem.

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