Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Firewood Smoke Is Third Largest Killer of Women, Children in Nigeria - WHO

Smoke emanating from firewood used for cooking is the third greatest killer of women and children in Nigeria, statistics from the World Health Organisation, WHO, has revealed.

The organization said that 93, 300 deaths occur in Nigeria as a result of smoke from traditional biomass stoves.

"After malaria and HIV/AIDS, smoke is the biggest killer of mostly women and children.

"In addition to this health problem, traditional biomass stoves burn 90 per cent more wood than is necessary. This has cost poor families and institutions money that could be put to better use on education, health, and nutrition," the global health body said.

Also, an estimated 72 per cent of Nigeria's population depend solely on firewood for cooking, a non-governmental organisation, the International Centre for Energy and Environmental Development, ICEED, also said.

The Executive Director of the Centre, Ewah Eleri, said this in an interview in Abuja on Tuesday.

Mr. Eleri said that access to sustainable modern, affordable and reliable energy services was a fundamental prerequisite for poverty reduction and sustainable human development.

He said that energy services had impacted on all aspects of people's lives and livelihoods, adding that the lack of access to it constrained people to a life of poverty.

The director also noted that 20 per cent of the global population lacked access to electricity while 40 per cent relied on traditional use of biomass for cooking.

"The UN estimates that if nothing is done by 2030, 900 million people would not have access to electricity, and three billion will still cook with traditional fuels.

"Thirty million people would have died due to smoke-related diseases; just many hundreds of millions will be confined to poverty due to the lack of access to energy.

"Countries like China have connected 500 million people to electricity in rural areas since 1990, while Vietnam has increased coverage from five per cent to 98 per cent in 35 years."

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