Malawi Household Air Pollution and Tuberculosis Study

Fieldwork by: Pamela Jagger (UNC-CH), Irving Hoffman (UNC-CH), Sam Phiri (Lighthouse Project, Malawi), Government of Malawi Tuberculosis Program, Anna Gallerani (UNC-CH)

Location: Lilongwe, Malawi

Sample: 380 households

Timeline: 2014-2021

Target group: Households within urban areas with 1/5 being TB positive

Research papers:

Working paper on household air pollution and nutrition



Policy Issue

Household air pollution (HAP) contributes to adverse health effects and respiratory diseases. With 3 billion people still using solid fuels for cooking, this affects people in low to middle-income countries the most, with the highest concentration in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ensuring that access to cleaner technologies such as improved and clean cooking can prevent air pollution-related diseases such as tuberculosis (TB).

Details of Intervention

In partnership with Lighthouse Project in Malawi, the Government of Malawi with funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health (NICHD and Fogarty International Center), this study is a community-based case control that examines the role of household air pollution as a risk factor for tuberculosis. The data collection took place in 5 high-density suburbs of Lilongwe, Malawi where surveyors asked respondents about fuel and cooking choices, their knowledge of risks for burning biomass using traditional cooking technologies, food consumption, health and nutritional outcomes for women and children under five, and socioeconomic and demographic variables. Data on exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM2.5) was also collected to add more information to the growing research on HAP and TB.

Policy Discussion

The relationship between HAP exposure and TB risk remains rather unclear and we use this study to clarify the relationship since HAP and TB are both very widespread throughout Malawi and other low to middle-income countries. Results from our study are in process.


Malawi Household Air Pollution and Tuberculosis Study

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