Early life ambient air pollution, household fuel use, and under-5 mortality in Ghana

Ali Moro, Engelbert A Nonterah, Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch, Samuel Oladokun, Paul Welaga, Patrick O Ansah, Perry Hystad, Roel Vermeulen, Abraham R Oduro, George Downward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Environmental exposures, such as ambient air pollution and household fuel use affect health and under-5 mortality (U5M) but there is a paucity of data in the Global South. This study examined early-life exposure to ambient particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 µm or less (PM 2.5), alongside household characteristics (including self-reported household fuel use), and their relationship with U5M in the Navrongo Health and Demographic Surveillance Site (HDSS) in northern Ghana.

METHODS: We employed Satellite-based spatiotemporal models to estimate the annual average PM 2.5 concentrations with the Navrongo HDSS area (1998 to 2016). Early-life exposure levels were determined by pollution estimates at birth year. Socio-demographic and household data, including cooking fuel, were gathered during routine surveillance. Cox proportional hazards models were applied to assess the link between early-life PM2.5 exposure and U5M, accounting for child, maternal, and household factors.

FINDINGS: We retrospectively studied 48,352 children born between 2007 and 2017, with 1872 recorded deaths, primarily due to malaria, sepsis, and acute respiratory infection. Mean early-life PM 2.5 was 39.3 µg/m 3, and no significant association with U5M was observed. However, Children from households using "unclean" cooking fuels (wood, charcoal, dung, and agricultural waste) faced a 73 % higher risk of death compared to those using clean fuels (adjusted HR = 1.73; 95 % CI: 1.29, 2.33). Being born female or to mothers aged 20-34 years were linked to increased survival probabilities.

INTERPRETATION: The use of "unclean" cooking fuel in the Navrongo HDSS was associated with under-5 mortality, highlighting the need to improve indoor air quality by introducing cleaner fuels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108693
JournalEnvironment International
Early online date24 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • Air Pollution
  • Children under-5 years
  • Health and Demographic Surveillance System
  • Household cooking
  • Mortality
  • Particulate matter


Dive into the research topics of 'Early life ambient air pollution, household fuel use, and under-5 mortality in Ghana'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this