Cooking with firewood dangerous for mothers, unborn babies — Expert

An expert in obstetrics and gynaecology, Professor Dosu Ojendegbe had warned against women cooking with non clean fuels such as firewood and kerosine, saying it is a significant cause of such health problems, as premature delivery, abortion, congenital malformation and systemic problems like hypertension.

Professor Dosu Ojendegbe spoke at the Research Day 2016 of the College of Medicine, Ibadan,  entitled “iResearch: Imparting Society through Research”

Ojendegbe declared that smoke emanating from firewood and down the line charcoal has great impact not just on women but also on pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes.

The expert, who stated that women are better off cooking with clean fuels like ethanol and cooking gas, declared that such cooking fuels produce high levels of household air pollution with a range of health-damaging pollutants, including small soot particles that penetrate deep into the lungs.

According to him, “the smoke is damaging to the cells of the baby in case of pregnancy, in which case the baby may end up with a damage that is not compatible with life and may end up in abortion or the baby dying inside or premature. In infants, it increased chances or neonatal death.

“The woman stands a higher risk of cancers such as cancers of the colon, liver and so on. Also, because the smoke also affects the cardiovascular system, the woman may end up with hypertension, which will then lead to having kidney failure and other complications in other organs of the body such as the eye and the lungs.”

The expert, who stressed the need to ensure women cook with clean fuels such as ethanol, said “the more women who cook with cleaner energy, the healthier the woman and the better their reproductive performance and avoidance of chronic systemic conditions that can limit their growth and shorten their lifespan.”

Provost, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Professor Adesegun Fatunsi in a keynote address at the occasion said that without research, there will be no tomorrow for Nigeria’s health system.

Fatunsi, who noted that Nigeria must deliberately nurture curiosity, declared that disease conditions in Nigeria also offer unique opportunities for researchers unlike those in developed countries.

The don, however, stated that such research that would be impactful on health should be public focused and able to impart programmes and translate to policies, adding that such also will require building strategic parties with policy makers.

Declaring open the Research Day 2016, Vice chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka stated that research was the bedrock of economic development, urging that the federal government should begin to look at empowering universities and other higher institutions to carry out research.

The Vice chancellor, speaking through the deputy vice chancellor (academic), Professor Gbemisola Oke, stated that good health was a pre-request for economic development.