Worldwide, every year 800,000 children under five years die due to pneumonia caused by indoor smoke. Most of these deaths occur in Africa, followed by South-East Asia. Young children are often carried on their mother’s back during cooking or kept near the warm hearth. Their immature immune system and their still developing respiratory system make them particularly vulnerable. However, children are not only affected by smoke from open fires. In many cases even small children are helping their mothers with gathering fuelwood, sharing their burden of workload instead of learning or going to school.

After children, women are the most affected by smoky homes: every year, 500,000 women die of chronic respiratory diseases due to indoor air pollution. Furthermore, carrying heavy bundles of firewood may also have an impact on the health of pregnant women.

Poor people especially in rural areas often do not have access to medical treatment. Providing them with clean cooking fuels or cleaner-burning and efficient cookstoves can be an effective way to reduce health risks. Prevention instead of treatment can also be very cost-effective. Cost-benefit analyses by WHO and GTZ demonstrate that the use of efficient stoves pays off. Combatting indoor air pollution also means contributing to Millennium Development Goal 4 “Reduce child mortality” by 2015.

For more information on cost benefit analysis please visit:
  • www.who.int/indoorair/interventions/cost_benefit/en/index.html
  • www.gtz.de/en/themen/umwelt-infrastruktur/energie/20674.htm

For more general information please visit:
  • www.gtz.de/hera
  • www.who.int/indoorair/en/