Experiences with the Mass Distribution of LPG Stoves in Rural Communities of Ghana.
ABSTRACT: Household air pollution (HAP) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. To limit HAP exposure and environmental degradation from biomass fuel use, the Government of Ghana promotes liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) use in rural Ghana via the Rural LPG program (RLP). We assessed the experiences of the RLP in 2015, 2 years after its launch. A mixed methods approach was used involving Focus Group Discussions (19) and in-depth interviews (25). In addition, a survey questionnaire was administered to elicit socio-demographic characteristics, household cooking practices and stove use patterns of 200 randomly selected respondents. At about 9 months after LPG acquisition,?
Project description:Each year up to 2.6 million people die prematurely from household air pollution (HAP) due to cooking with polluting fuels such as wood and charcoal, particularly in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). The World Health Organisation recommends scaling the adoption of clean fuels to improve maternal and child health. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) represents a scalable clean fuel that provides health and environmental benefits when used for household energy in LMICs. In Cameroon, over 70% of people rely on biomass for cooking, and the Government aims to increase LPG use from <20% to 58% by 2030. Supporting households make this transition requires involvement of multiple stakeholders and an understanding of perspectives from the community's perspective. We used visual participatory methods 'Photovoice' to explore households' perceptions of factors influencing the uptake of LPG for cooking in South-West Cameroon. Two groups of participants from rural (n?=?7) and peri-urban (n?=?8) areas photographed subjects they identified as preventing and facilitating LPG uptake in their communities. Subsequently, individual interviews (n?=?15) and group discussions (n?=?5) explored participants' reflections on the photographs. Thematic analysis was conducted using NVivo 10 software. The main barriers identified included difficulty in affording the initial LPG equipment and ongoing refills, scarcity of LPG retail shops and refills, and safety concerns. Facilitators included (i) increasing awareness of the benefits of LPG (e.g. health), (ii) increasing retail outlet density in rural areas, (iii) addressing safety concerns (e.g. replacing damaged cylinders), and (iv) reducing the price of LPG refills. Participants presented their photos at a public exhibition, which generated discussions with key stakeholders (e.g. government ministries) about how best to assist communities in this transition. Photovoice was found to be an innovative and effective approach for exploring how to advance equitable access to LPG from a community perspective and successfully engage with key stakeholders.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pneumonia, a leading cause of childhood mortality, is associated with household air pollution (HAP) exposure. Mechanisms between HAP and pneumonia are poorly understood, but studies suggest that HAP may increase the likelihood of bacterial, instead of viral, pneumonia. We assessed the relationship between HAP and infant microbial nasal carriage among 260 infants participating in the Ghana Randomized Air Pollution and Health Study (GRAPHS). METHODS:Data are from GRAPHS, a cluster-randomized controlled trial of cookstove interventions (improved biomass or LPG) versus the 3-stone (baseline) cookstove. Infants were surveyed for pneumonia during the first year of life and had routine personal exposure assessments. Nasopharyngeal swabs collected from pneumonia cases (n?=?130) and healthy controls (n?=?130) were analyzed for presence of 22 common respiratory microbes by MassTag polymerase chain reaction. Data analyses included intention-to-treat (ITT) comparisons of microbial species presence by study arm, and exposure-response relationships. RESULTS:In ITT analyses, 3-stone arm participants had a higher mean number of microbial species than the LPG (LPG: 2.71, 3-stone: 3.34, p?<?0.0001, n?=?260). This difference was driven by increased bacterial (p?<?0.0001) rather than viral species presence (non-significant). Results were pronounced in pneumonia cases and attenuated in healthy controls. Higher prevalence bacterial species were Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Moraxella catarrhalis. Exposure-response relationships did not yield significant associations between measured CO and nasal microbial carriage. CONCLUSIONS:Our intention-to-treat findings are consistent with a link between HAP and bacterial nasal carriage. No relationships were found for viral carriage. Given the null results in exposure-response analysis, it is likely that a pollutant besides CO is driving these differences.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Three billion individuals worldwide rely on biomass fuel [dung, wood, crops] for cooking and heating. Further, health conditions resulting from household air pollution (HAP) are responsible for approximately 3.9 million premature deaths each year. Though transition away from traditional biomass stoves is projected curb the health effects of HAP by mitigating exposure, the benefits of newer clean cookstove technologies can only be fully realized if use of these new stoves is exclusive and sustained. However, the conditions under which individuals adopt and sustain use of clean cookstoves is not well understood. METHODS:The Enhancing LPG Adoption in Ghana (ELAG) study is a cluster-randomized controlled trial employing a factorial intervention design. The first component is a behavior change intervention based on the Risks, Attitudes, Norms, Abilities, and Self-regulation (RANAS) model. This intervention seeks to align these five behavioral factors with clean cookstove adoption and sustained use. A second intervention is access-related and will improve LPG availability by offering a direct-delivery refueling service. These two interventions will be integrated via a factorial design whereby 27 communities are assigned to one of the following: the control arm, the educational intervention, the delivery, or a combined intervention. Intervention allocation is determined by a covariate-constrained randomization approach. After intervention, approximately 900 households' individual fuel use is tracked for 12 months via iButton stove use monitors. Analysis will include hierarchical linear models used to compare intervention households' fuel use to control households. DISCUSSION:Literature to-date demonstrates that recipients of improved cookstoves rarely completely adopt the new technology. Instead, they often practice partial adoption (fuel stacking). Consequently, interventions are needed to influence adoption patterns and simultaneously to understand drivers of fuel adoption. Ensuring uptake, adoption, and sustained use of improved cookstove technologies can then lead to HAP-reductions and consequent improvements in public health. TRIAL REGISTRATION:NCT03352830 (November 24, 2017).
Project description:BACKGROUND:Consequences of exposure to household air pollution (HAP) from biomass fuels used for cooking on neonatal deaths and stillbirths is poorly understood. In a large multi-country observational study, we examined whether exposure to HAP was associated with perinatal mortality (stillbirths from gestation week 20 and deaths through day 7 of life) as well as when the deaths occurred (macerated, non-macerated stillbirths, very early neonatal mortality (day 0-2) and later neonatal mortality (day 3-28). Questions addressing household fuel use were asked at pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal follow-up visits in a prospective cohort study of pregnant women in rural communities in five low and lower middle income countries participating in the Global Network for Women and Children's Health's Maternal and Newborn Health Registry. The study was conducted between May 2011 and October 2012. Polluting fuels included kerosene, charcoal, coal, wood, straw, crop waste and dung. Clean fuels included electricity, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), natural gas and biogas. RESULTS:We studied the outcomes of 65,912 singleton pregnancies, 18 % from households using clean fuels (59 % LPG) and 82 % from households using polluting fuels (86 % wood). Compared to households cooking with clean fuels, there was an increased risk of perinatal mortality among households using polluting fuels (adjusted relative risk (aRR) 1.44, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.30-1.61). Exposure to HAP increased the risk of having a macerated stillbirth (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.66, 95%CI 1.23-2.25), non-macerated stillbirth (aOR 1.43, 95 % CI 1.15-1.85) and very early neonatal mortality (aOR 1.82, 95 % CI 1.47-2.22). CONCLUSIONS:Perinatal mortality was associated with exposure to HAP from week 20 of pregnancy through at least day 2 of life. Since pregnancy losses before labor and delivery are difficult to track, the effect of exposure to polluting fuels on global perinatal mortality may have previously been underestimated. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01073475.
Project description:After more than three decades of access to low-cost liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) financed by large direct government subsidies, more than 90% of Ecuadorian households cook primarily with LPG. Due to the large fiscal burden of the LPG subsidy, increases in electricity from hydropower, and other sociopolitical factors, the Government of Ecuador launched a major induction stove program (PEC) to reduce the demand for LPG. We assess the effects of the LPG subsidies and PEC using government records, interviews, academic literature, newspaper reports, household surveys, and focus groups. Household surveys, conducted in rural, northern Ecuadorian households (n=383), characterized cooking patterns and fuel access. Focus groups (n=6) were carried out with a subset of surveyed households to better characterize survey findings. The LPG subsidy was developed as part of broad social support reforms in the early 1970s, without specific aims to reduce the health impacts of household air pollution from woodfuel or provide economic benefits as part of the transition to a clean cooking fuel. Nonetheless, the subsidy has resulted in nearly all Ecuadorian households cooking primarily with LPG. PEC has generated the sale of 740,000 induction stoves since its inception in 2014, short of the goal of 3.5 million. Among the rural households surveyed, LPG use, acceptance, and satisfaction was high, however, more than three-quarters of those surveyed reported weekly woodfuel use. Induction stove ownership (17%) and use as a primary cooking fuel (1%) was low among the rural households surveyed; furthermore, households owning induction stoves reported very low satisfaction with the stoves. Here we show that nationally-representative surveys reporting only "primary cooking fuef" use may underestimate solid fuel use as a supplemental household cooking energy, particularly in rural areas where fuel availability issues play a stronger role in decisions about what fuels to use.
Project description:BACKGROUND:More than 75% of the population in Ghana relies on biomass fuels for cooking and heating. Household air pollution (HAP) emitted from the incomplete combustion of these fuels has been associated with adverse health effects including respiratory effects in women that can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a major contributor to global HAP-related mortality. HAP is a modifiable risk factor in the global burden of disease, exposure to which can be reduced. OBJECTIVE:This study assessed the prevalence of respiratory symptoms, as well as associations between respiratory symptoms and HAP exposure, as measured using continuous personal carbon monoxide (CO), in nonsmoking pregnant women in rural Ghana. METHODS:We analyzed current respiratory health symptoms and CO exposures upon enrollment in a subset (n?=?840) of the population of pregnant women cooking with biomass fuels and enrolled in the GRAPHS randomized clinical control trial. Personal CO was measured using Lascar continuous monitors. Associations between CO concentrations as well as other sources of pollution exposures and respiratory health symptoms were estimated using logistic regression models. CONCLUSION:There was a positive association between CO exposure per 1?ppm increase and a composite respiratory symptom score of current cough (lasting >5?days), wheeze and/or dyspnea (OR: 1.2, p?=?0.03). CO was also positively associated with wheeze (OR: 1.3, p?=?0.05), phlegm (OR: 1.2, p?=?0.08) and reported clinic visit for respiratory infection in past 4?weeks (OR: 1.2, p?=?0.09). Multivariate models showed significant associations between second-hand tobacco smoke and a composite outcome (OR: 2.1, p?<?0.01) as well as individual outcomes of cough >5?days (OR: 3.1, p?=?0.01), wheeze (OR: 2.7, p?<?0.01) and dyspnea (OR: 2.2, p?=?0.01). Other covariates found to be significantly associated with respiratory outcomes include involvement in charcoal production business and dyspnea, and involvement in burning grass/field and wheeze. Results suggest that exposure to HAP increases the risk of adverse respiratory symptoms among pregnant women using biomass fuels for cooking in rural Ghana.
Project description:Household air pollution (HAP) generated from solid fuel combustion is a major health risk. Direct measurement of exposure to HAP is burdensome and challenging, particularly for children. In a pilot study of the Household Air Pollution Intervention Network (HAPIN) trial in rural Guatemala, we evaluated an indirect exposure assessment method that employs fixed continuous PM2.5 monitors, Bluetooth signal receivers in multiple microenvironments (kitchen, sleeping area and outdoor patio), and a wearable signal emitter to track an individual's time within those microenvironments. Over a four-month period, we measured microenvironmental locations and reconstructed indirect PM2.5 exposures for women and children during two 24-h periods before and two periods after a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stove and fuel intervention delivered to 20 households cooking with woodstoves. Women wore personal PM2.5 monitors to compare direct with indirect exposure measurements. Indirect exposure measurements had high correlation with direct measurements (n?=?62, Spearman ??=?0.83, PM2.5 concentration range: 5-528?µg/m3). Indirect exposure had better agreement with direct exposure measurements (bias: -17?µg/m3) than did kitchen area measurements (bias: -89?µg/m3). Our findings demonstrate that indirect exposure reconstruction is a feasible approach to estimate personal exposure when direct assessment is not possible.
Project description:Household air pollution (HAP) due to solid fuel use during pregnancy is associated with adverse birth outcomes. The real-life effectiveness of clean cooking interventions has been disappointing overall yet variable, but the sociodemographic determinants are not well described. We measured personal 24-h PM2.5 (particulate matter <2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter) thrice in pregnant women (n = 218) gravimetrically with Teflon filter, impactor, and personal pump setups. To estimate the effectiveness of owning chimney and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stoves (i.e., proportion of PM2.5 exposure that would be prevented) and to predict subject-specific typical exposures, we used linear mixed-effects models with log (PM2.5) as dependent variable and random intercept for subject. Median (IQR) personal PM2.5 in µg/m3 was 148 (90-249) for open fire, 78 (51-125) for chimney stove, and 55 (34-79) for LPG stoves. Adjusted effectiveness of LPG stoves was greater in women with ?6 years of education (49% (95% CI: 34, 60)) versus <6 years (26% (95% CI: 5, 42)). In contrast, chimney stove adjusted effectiveness was greater in women with <6 years of education (50% (95% CI: 38, 60)), rural residence (46% (95% CI: 34, 55)) and lowest SES (socio-economic status) quartile (59% (95% CI: 45, 70)) than ?6 years education (16% (95% CI: 22, 43)), urban (23% (95% CI: -164, 42)) and highest SES quartile (-44% (95% CI: -183, 27)), respectively. A minority of LPG stove owners (12%) and no chimney owner had typical exposure below World Health Organization Air Quality guidelines (35 ?g/m3). Although having a cleaner stove alone typically does not lower exposure enough to protect health, understanding sociodemographic determinants of effectiveness may lead to better targeting, implementation, and adoption of interventions.
Project description:Background:Exposure to household air pollution (HAP) from cooking with biomass fuel affects billions of people. We hypothesized that HAP from woodsmoke, compared to other household fuels, was associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes, of which there have been few studies. Methods:A cross-sectional study was completed in 299 females aged 40-70 years in Kaski District, Nepal, during 2017-18. All participants underwent a standard 12-lead ECG, ankle and brachial systolic blood pressure measurement, and 2D color and Doppler echocardiography. Current stove type was confirmed by inspection. Blood pressure, height, and weight were measured using a standardized protocol. Hypertension was defined as ?140/90 mmHg or prior diagnosis. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was obtained, with diabetes mellitus defined as a prior diagnosis or HbA1C ? 6.5%. We used adjusted linear and logistic multivariable regressions to examine the relationship of stove type with cardiac structure and function. Results:The majority of women primarily used liquified petroleum gas (LPG) stoves (65%), while 12% used biogas, and 23% used wood-burning cook-stoves. Prevalence of major cardiovascular risk factors was 35% with hypertension, 19% with diabetes mellitus, and 15% current smokers. After adjustment, compared to LPG, wood stove use was associated with increased indexed left atrial volume (? = 3.15, 95% CI 1.22 to 5.09) and increased indexed left ventricular end diastolic volume (? = 7.97, 95% CI 3.11 to 12.83). There was no association between stove type and systemic hypertension, left ventricular mass, systolic dysfunction, diastolic dysfunction, pulmonary hypertension, abnormal ankle-brachial index, or clinically significant ECG abnormalities. Conclusion:Biomass fuel use was associated with increased indexed left atrial volume and increased indexed left ventricular diastolic volume in Nepali women, suggesting subclinical adverse cardiac remodeling from HAP in this cross-sectional study. We did not find evidence of an association with hypertension or typical cardiac sequelae of hypertension. Future studies to confirm these results are needed.
Project description:Household air pollution from the combustion of biomass and coal is estimated to cause approximately 780,000 premature deaths a year in India. The government has responded by promoting uptake of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by tens of millions of poor rural families. Many poor households with new LPG stoves, however, continue to partially use traditional smoky chulhas. Our primary objective was to evaluate three strategies to transition pregnant women in rural Maharashtra to exclusive use of LPG for cooking. We also measured reductions in kitchen concentrations of PM2.5 before and after our interventions. Our core intervention was a free stove, 2 free LPG cylinders (one on loan until delivery), and repeated health messaging. We measured stove usage of both the traditional and intervention stoves until delivery. In households that received the core intervention, an average of 66% days had no indoor cooking on a chulha. In an adjacent area, we evaluated a conditional cash transfer (CCT) based on usage of LPG in addition to the core intervention. Results were less successful, due to challenges implementing the CCT. Pregnant women in a third nearby area received the core intervention plus a maximum of one 14.2?kg cylinder per month of free fuel. In their homes, 90% of days had no indoor cooking on a chulha. On average, exclusive LPG use decreased kitchen concentrations of PM2.5 by approximately 85% (from 520 to 72??g/m3). 85% of participating households agreed to pay the deposit on the 2nd cylinder. This high purchase rate suggests they valued how the second cylinder permitted continuous LPG supply. A program to increase access to second cylinders may, thus, be a straightforward way to encourage use of clean fuels in rural areas.