Firehiwot Mengesha of Gaia Association participated in the United States State Department-hosted workshop entitled “The Health Burden of Indoor Air Pollution on Women and Children in Developing Countries,” held May 9 to 2011 in the Washington, DC area. The workshop brought together over 150 health and stove experts working to address the health complications related to indoor air pollution resulting from traditional cooking practices in the developing world.
The workshop is a step towards the State Department’s commitment to improving household energy and health in the developing world. Participants of the workshop were able to share results, review current literature, discuss critical research questions and determine gaps in research which, when addressed, will establish a set of health standards and guidelines for household energy.
The workshop involved breakout sessions focusing on the relationship between indoor air pollution (IAP) and respiratory, cardiovascular, neonatal, and ocular health, as well burn injuries, smoke exposure and cancer risks.
Workshop speakers included the National Institute of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, Kris Balderston- Special Representative for Global Partnerships for the Secretary of State and Gina McCarthy – Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation of the USEPA. The First Lady of Peru and President of the Institute of Labor and Family, Pilar Nores de Garcia, presented on the success of the Peruvian national stove program. The workshop also featured a presentation by Leslie Cordes, Interim Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC) about the current transformation of the USEPA Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA) into to the GACC.
The issue of family health is closely related to household energy. The success of large-scale clean cookstove and fuel interventions depends on the progress we make regarding family health.
Firehiwot Mengesha is as an expert in the field of IAP, cookstoves and alcohol fuels. She has been with Gaia Association since 2004.