Clean energy research initiative celebrates official launch in Kenya


A new collaboration led by the University of Liverpool to address the burden of disease from household air pollution in sub Saharan Africa has celebrated its official launch in Kenya.

The NIHR Global Health Research Unit on CLEAN-Air (Africa) aims to help scale adoption of clean energy to reduce respiratory and cardiovascular disease from exposure household air pollution, which is responsible for 634,000 preventable deaths each year in sub-Saharan Africa.

A launch event, which brought together partners from the project, was held at the headquarters of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Nairobi earlier this week.

The £7 million initiative is funded by the UK National Institute for Health and Care research under their Global Health Research program and brings together academic, research and clinical experts from the UK, Kenya, Cameroon, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda to provide research evidence for national policies supporting populations transition from polluting solid fuels (e.g. wood, charcoal, biomass) and kerosene to clean fuels/ energy.

A five-year programme of policy-oriented research and health systems strengthening will provide an evidence base for national strategies to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 ‘Universal access to affordable and clean energy’, that will improve health (SDG3), gender equality (SDG5), economic growth (SDG8) and climate (SDG13) by 2030.

The NIHR CLEAN-Air(Africa) Unit involves research partners from the  University of Liverpool, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Moi University, University of Dar es Salaam, Makerere University Lung Institute, Rwanda Biomedical Center and Eagle Research Center and Douala General Hospital.

The NIHR CLEAN-Air(Africa) Unit is co-directed by Professor Daniel Pope and Dr Elisa Puzzolo from the University of Liverpool and Dr James Mwitari from KEMRI. CLEAN-Air(Africa) is a flag ship initiative of the Energy, Air Pollution and Health Research Group at the University of Liverpool’s Department of Public Health, Policy and Systems.

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Image: From left to right - Nobel Peace Prize nominee Professor Miriam Were (Community engagement and involvement lead), Dr Elisa Puzzolo (co-director),Professor Dan Pope (Co-director), Sophie Matu (KEMRI senior scientist) and Professor Sam Kariuki (Director General KEMRI) at the launch of NIHR CLEAN-Air(Africa) Global Health Research Unit at KEMRI HQ, Nairobi, 22-11-2022.