|Cooking and Season as Risk Factors for Acute Lower Respiratory Infections in African Children: A Cross-Sectional Multi-Country Analysis|
||Hannes Buchner, and Eva A. Rehfuess
||PLoS ONE , 10(6): e0128933; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0128933
Children under five
Household solid fuel use
Multiple African Countries
||Background: Acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) are a leading cause of death among African children
under five. A significant proportion of these are attributable to household air pollution
from solid fuel use.
Methods: We assessed the relationship between cooking practices and ALRI in pooled datasets of
Demographic and Health Surveys conducted between 2000 and 2011 in countries of sub-
Saharan Africa. The impacts of main cooking fuel, cooking location and stove ventilation
were examined in 18 (n = 56,437), 9 (n = 23,139) and 6 countries (n = 14,561) respectively.
We used a causal diagram and multivariable logistic mixed models to assess the influence
of covariates at individual, regional and national levels.
Results: Main cooking fuel had a statistically significant impact on ALRI risk (p<0.0001), with season
acting as an effect modifier (p = 0.034). During the rainy season, relative to clean fuels, the
odds of suffering from ALRI were raised for kerosene (OR 1.64; CI: 0.99, 2.71), coal and
charcoal (OR 1.54; CI: 1.21, 1.97), wood (OR 1.20; CI: 0.95, 1.51) and lower-grade biomass
fuels (OR 1.49; CI: 0.93, 2.35). In contrast, during the dry season the corresponding odds
were reduced for kerosene (OR 1.23; CI: 0.77, 1.95), coal and charcoal (OR 1.35; CI: 1.06,
1.72) and lower-grade biomass fuels (OR 1.07; CI: 0.69, 1.66) but increased for wood (OR
1.32; CI: 1.04, 1.66). Cooking location also emerged as a season-dependent statistically
significant (p = 0.0070) determinant of ALRI, in particular cooking indoors without a separate
kitchen during the rainy season (OR 1.80; CI: 1.30, 2.50). Due to infrequent use in Africa we
could, however, not demonstrate an effect of stove ventilation.
Conclusions: We found differential and season-dependent risks for different types of solid fuels and kerosene
as well as cooking location on child ALRI. Future household air pollution studies
should consider potential effect modification of cooking fuel by season.