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Respiratory symptoms and lung function among Ethiopian women in relation to household fuel use

Journal article
Authors Mulugeta Tamire
Adamu Addissie
Abera Kumie
Emma Husmark
Susann Skovbjerg
Rune Andersson
Mona Lärstad
Published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume 17
Issue 1
ISSN 1660-4601
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Centre for antibiotic resistance research, CARe
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Infectious Medicine
Language en
Keywords household air pollution; solid fuel; respiratory symptoms; lung function; Africa
Subject categories Infectious Medicine, Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


Exposure to household air pollution has been linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory symptoms and reduced lung function. This study aims to assess respiratory symptoms and lung function among Ethiopian women in relation to exposure to HAP. We conducted a cross-sectional study among non-smoking women responsible for household cooking. Data was collected on socio-demographic characteristics, respiratory symptoms and risk factors using a validated questionnaire. Spirometry with reversibility testing was performed according to American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society guidelines. We used independent t-test and multivariable logistic regression to compare the means and measure association respectively. A total of 545 women participated in the study out of which 231 (42.3%) performed spirometry with at least three acceptable manoeuvres. Everyone in the rural group and 43% of the urban group were exposed to HAP from solid fuels during cooking. The odds of developing at least one respiratory symptomwhencomparedwiththoseusingcleanerfuelsaretwiceashighforwomencookingwithin the living house. We also found significantly lower forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) (L) among solid fuels users compared with cleaner energy users. Given the larger population settlement in the rural areas and the use of solid fuel as the only energy source, there is a higher risk of developing chronic respiratory health problems for those women in Ethiopia.

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