Disease burden of fuelwood combustion pollutants in rural households of the Himalayas, India
Background: household biomass combustion for cooking purposes produces pollutants. Exposure to these pollutants has various adverse health impacts and is a major contributor to global disease burden. However, a precise estimate of the burden attributable to biomass combustion at the local level is not available in different parts of the world, therefore restricting policymakers’ ability to develop targeted actions against the health hazards. a study was conducted in the rural Himalayas to generate information about disease burden, with the purpose of aiding the development of strategies to improve public health.
Methods: exposure level, population exposed and other relevant data regarding fuel-wood use, were collected through questionnaire survey from 102 randomly selected households spread in 46 villages in a two phase cluster random sampling design study during 2008 – 09. the burden of disease for acute Lower respiratory Infection (aLrI), chronic obstructive Pulmonary disease (coPd) and Lung cancer were estimated as per fuel-based approach of WHo guidelines for rural hilly households, using fuel- wood for cooking.
Results: households, primarily dependent on fuel-wood for fuel, had disability adjusted life years (daLYs) lost and deaths that were much higher than the national status. The incidence of disease burden was 2 909 daLYs lost, with a share of 1 987 for aLrI in children "up to" 5 years age, 730 for coPd and 192 for Lung cancer in adults more than 30 years old, respectively.
This result has implications for policy makers when deciding on an effective exposure reduction strategy and describes the risks connected between these health hazards and the health outcome of inhabitants exposed to them. The paper also discusses the intervention strategies for “addressing” the issues relevant to fuel-wood generated exposure.
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