Population, Land Use and Health Dynamics of Biomass Fuel Use in Sub-Saharan Africa

Globally, over 3 billion people rely on biomass as their primary source of domestic energy. Smoke from the combustion of biomass fuels accounts for nearly 2 million deaths annually, more than the number of deaths from malaria and tuberculosis. This project is developing an integrated research program that addresses the determinants of fuel and technology use and their associated health and socioeconomic outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). While household-level determinants of fuel use and cooking technologies are relatively well understood, few studies model a comprehensive set of supply and demand determinants of fuel and technology use. The project tests the central hypothesis that meso and macro level variables including land use and land cover change, population dynamics, and variable rates of infrastructure and market development influence fuel and technology options, and in turn observed respiratory health, nutrition, and socioeconomic outcomes. Aims include: (1) developing and testing a multi-level spatial model of the determinants of fuel and technology use in Malawi, (2) developing and testing a comprehensive and appropriate set of measures and field methods for understanding respiratory and nutritional outcomes associated with fuel and technology use, and (3) estimating a dynamic multi-level spatial model that integrates the determinants of fuel and technology use with health and socioeconomic outcomes. The findings from this study will have a wide impact on targeting of public programs aimed at reducing the negative health impacts of exposure to biomass smoke, specifically acute respiratory infection, chronic respiratory illness, low birth weight, and undernutrition throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Principal Investigator: Pamela Jagger

CPC Fellow Investigator: Michael E. Emch

Funding Source: NIH NICHD

Grant Number: K01HD073329

Funding Period: 7/1/2012 - 4/30/2017

Primary Research Area: Demography

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