Air quality and diseases in Uganda

Air quality and diseases in Uganda

A study called, “Prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and associated risk factors in Uganda: a prospective cross-sectional observational study” was conducted in Uganda to determine the risk factors for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) based on an existing lack of research on the impact of air quality on respiratory. Though countries in the global south are generally thought to be only facing communicable diseases such as HIV and malaria, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as COPD is increasing. In fact, COPD is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.

Worldwide, 50% of households in the global south rely on biomass fuels (wood, dung, crop residues and charcoal) for cooking and indoor heating, exposing over 3 billion people to their adverse effects. Research is still emerging regarding the risk of respiratory outcomes such as early onset of asthma, tuberculosis, lung cancer, and COPD in relation to this exposure.

This specific study was based in rural Masindi, Uganda and was focused on determining the prevalence of COPD among adults. The study indicated that all of the participants, both men and women, had been exposed to biomass smoke, indoor as well as outdoor. However, women were more exposed to biomass smoke than men, both indoors and outdoors. Men were exposed to tobacco smoke through smoking more than women, who did not smoke very much. In this study, the prevalence of COPD was 16.2% but it indicated that lung damage is prominent among all young people and has implications on entire families, based on the use of and exposure to pollutants from indoor and outdoor biomass stoves.

The study also points to the need for prevention of exposure by promoting the risks associated with biomass stoves and tobacco smoke. This can be achieved through a variety of initiatives including ventilation, an uptake of energy-saving stoves and retained-heat cookers, as well as monitoring the air quality.

As Ambience Data continues to scale up the role out our air quality monitors, we are excited to partner with populations and governments around the world to provide access to real-time air quality data to reduce diseases and improve quality of life.

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