15 October 2018
by Olugbemisola Samuel
My Experience at IIASA
I was privileged to have very dedicated supervisors during my YSSP in 2017. They were Prof. Samir KC and Dr. Marcus Wurzer, both in the World Population Program. I learned very much from them, which helped to lay the proper foundation for my research at IIASA. Their comments and advice guided my research to the successful completion of this paper.
I also learned very much from senior colleagues and researchers in the population program. The seminars were amazing, creating a platform for me to unlearn, learn, and re-learn. I met the best minds at IIASA and the Wittgenstein Center, which led to amazing inputs into my research sharpening the final products.
About the Research Paper
My research paper was titled: Household use of solid fuel for cooking and under-five mortality in Nigeria. Solid fuel in this context refers to use of wood, coal, charcoal, and animal dung for cooking. Studies have shown that children suffer from lower respiratory infections, for example pneumonia, due to exposure to smoke from solid fuel used in the household. In Nigeria, more than 70 percent of households depend on solid fuel for cooking which expose children living in such homes to emissions of harmful biomass smoke (Olisaekee, 2014; NPC and ICF international, 2014).
Some households still have their cooking facility located within the home. According to the World Health Organization in 2017, about 460,000 childhood deaths were caused by lower respiratory infections in sub-Saharan Africa. While about 74,604 deaths in 2012 among under-five children were attributable to household indoor air pollution in Nigeria (World Health Organization, 2015).
It’s heart-aching to know that under-five mortality rate in Nigeria stood at 128 deaths per 1,000 live births as at 2013 (NPC and ICF, 2014). Many researchers had attempted to explain relationships between socio-economic factors and childhood deaths in Nigeria, but not so many have been able to explain the interaction between the use of solid fuel used for cooking within the household and under-five mortality. This study was able to identify types of cooking fuel used in the households in Nigeria; determine the association between cooking fuel and under-five mortality; examine the factors influencing use of solid fuel in the household and measure the extent to which use of solid fuel within the household had contributed to under-five mortality in Nigeria. The study gained its relevance from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 1, 3 and 7, which focus on issues of poverty, good health and well-being, and affordable and clean energy.
Findings from this study revealed that poverty is a major factor determining the use of solid or biomass fuel in most of the Nigerian households. Although Nigeria as a country has abundance of crude oil, her citizens still lack access to clean or non-solid fuel (i.e., kerosene, gas, electricity, etc.) for cooking, including kerosene (the cheapest of all). According to the study, more than half of the Nigerian population lives in the rural area and since there is abundance of woods in the rural areas, many of the households resort to using woods or charcoal for their domestic uses.
Poverty makes it impossible for most households in the rural areas and some urban dwellers to afford the use of cleaner fuel for their cooking, thereby, putting many young children at risk of dying as a result of exposure to smoke emanating from the use of biomass fuel. On the other hand, it is also true that most rural areas in Nigeria do not have electricity and so, are left with little or no alternative than to use solid fuel for cooking. Our study also found that more of the households in the northern regions of the country used solid fuel for cooking than their counterparts in the southern regions. This can be attributed to the fact that the southern part of Nigeria is more developed than the northern regions. The south has better accessibility to cleaner fuel than the northern parts of Nigeria. This study provides policy makers with ample information on the need to provide cleaner fuel at a cheaper cost to the people, particularly those in the rural areas and in northern Nigeria, so as to holistically address the problem of under-five mortality in relation to the type of cooking fuel used in the households in Nigeria. There is an urgent need to focus on the rural areas and northern parts of the country where a larger proportion of these deaths are coming from.
About Olugbemisola Samuel
Dr. Samuel received her PhD in Demography and Social Statistics from Covenant Unveristy in Nigeria. Her thesis was titled, "Proximate Determinants: The Pathways of Influence of Underlying Factors on Under-five Mortality in Nigeria”. In 2017, she participated in the YSSP and was a recipient of the YSSP Fund.
She has collaboration with the UN-Habitat, International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA) and the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital. Her research interests are in the areas of child health, reproductive health and population development.
Last edited: 15 October 2018
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