Practice and percepton of biomass fuel use and its health effects among residents in a sub urban area of southern Nigeria. a qualitative study
Women and Children from developing countries are exposed to high levels of pollutants from biomass combustion with associated respiratory and other diseases .Many people are unaware of respiratory and other health risks of biomass fuel leading to extensive exposure to biomass smoke. Significant number of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients in Africa are nonsmokers, main risk for COPD in rural areas in Asia, South America and Africa is smoke from biomass fuel used in cooking.1-4 The aim is to determine their practice of use of biomass fuel and their knowledge with regards to illness, respiratory and other diseases arising from its use. This study was a cross sectional descriptive qualitative study conducted between 6th and 31st July 2015. It consisted of 15 focus group discussion, open ended pre-determined questions were asked by moderators. What fuel do you use in cooking?, Which one is commonly use?, Do you know of any illness associated with the use of biomass fuel? Do we have substitute for use of biomass fuel? Out of 270 participants recruited by random sampling of clusters, 139 responded. Data analysis by systematic thematic analysis process. Bio data analysis was done using Epi-Info 3.5.1. The different groups commented on use of biomass fuel in form of wood as the commonest because it is cheap. They were aware of better and cleaner alternatives like gas and electric hot plates but for unaffordability and poor electricity supply, no mention of solar energy. Majority are of the opinion that biomass fuel use results in pain in eyes and dizziness. Most of the women mentioned cough, very few talked about asthma arising from use of biomass fuel. None mentioned COPD or cancers of the lungs or nasopharynx. Few people are aware of the relationship between smoke and respiratory diseases. No knowledge of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases or cancers. There is urgent need creating awareness by stakeholders, about respiratory diseases among these people in order to sensitize towards seeking a cleaner fuel alternative. This may necessitate empowerment hence community leaders and policy makers as well health professionals will be involved in this health promotion.
Keywords: Biomass fuel, Practice, Perception, Youth, Women, Sub-Urban, Nigeria