East African Medical Journal

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Air pollution and respiratory health in Africa: A review

MO Tanmowo


Objective: To bring into focus the existence of respiratory hazards due to air pollution as a result of industrialisation, tobacco smoking (personal pollution), domestic pollution and vehicular fuel combustion on the African continent; and to stimulate health workers, and the
various governments in Africa, to devote more attention to the subject of air pollution by engaging in and encouraging multidisciplinary research so that appropriate and effective control measures can be put in place.

Data sources: Medline literature search through internet using the keywords: air pollution, cigarette smoking, domestic pollution, respiratory morbidity, Africa. The author’s  contributions to the subject of air pollution and respiratory morbidity are included. Study selection: Relevant studies or articles from eastern, western, northern, southern and central parts of Africa are included in the review. Data extraction: From individual study or article.

Data synthesis: Evidence of respiratory hazards sequel to the four main sources of air pollution in each part of Africa, are synchronised under the headings: introduction, respiratory impairment and the future.

Conclusions: Respiratory impairment from the four main sources of air pollution is a major but highly neglected problem on the African continent. There is need for concerted efforts on the part of African governments, health administrators and health workers to ensure that necessary attention is given to multidisciplinary research on the subject so that meaningful control measures can be formulated, thereby ensuring clean air for the people to breathe.
AJOL African Journals Online