Journal of Biosocial Science

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Regular Articles

FACTORS AFFECTING THE CHOICE OF COOKING FUEL, COOKING PLACE AND RESPIRATORY HEALTH IN THE ACCRA METROPOLITAN AREA, GHANA


KWASI  OWUSU BOADI  a1 and MARKKU  KUITUNEN  a1
a1 Department of Biological and Environmental Science, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, University of Jyvaskyla, Finl

Article author query
owusu boadi k   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kuitunen m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

Indoor air pollution resulting from the combustion of solid fuels has been identified as a major health threat in the developing world. This study examines how the choice of cooking fuel, place of cooking and behavioural risk factors affect respiratory health infections in Accra, Ghana. About 65·3% of respondents use charcoal and 4·2% use unprocessed wood. A total of 241 (25·4%) respondents who cook had had respiratory health symptoms in the two weeks preceding the study. Household socioeconomic status and educational attainment of respondents were found to have a significant impact on respiratory health through their particular influence on the choice of cooking fuel. Households that use wood and charcoal have a high incidence of respiratory health symptoms. The poor are more affected by respiratory health problems due to their heavy dependence on solid fuels as compared with their wealthy counterparts. Households that cook in multiple purpose rooms are more affected by respiratory health problems than those that cook outdoors. There is a positive correlation between the presence of children in the kitchen during cooking and the incidence of respiratory health symptoms among children (r=0·31, p<0·0001). Poverty and lack of education and awareness are the major factors affecting the choice of cooking fuel, place of cooking and respiratory health in Accra.

(Published Online May 5 2005)