Fitzek Antonia1,*, Ron Alexandra1, Mushumba Herbert1, Byukusenge Janvier2, Püschel Klaus1
1Institute for Legal Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
2National Police College (NPC) in Musanze District, Rwanda
BACKGROUND: Around 3 billion people around the world, especially in low-income countries, cook indoors using polluting open fires or simple stoves fueled by kerosene, biomass, and coal, which produce indoor air pollution (IAP). According to WHO, the population of sub-Saharan Africa, South and East Asia and the Western Pacific experience the highest rates of health problems from exposure to indoor pollutants. According to the World Bank's sustainable energy database, only one-third of the Rwandan population have access to electricity.
CASE PRESENTATION: Two case reports with both a fatal acute and chronic outcome of IAP are presented. Because of the lack of electricity, especially in poor environments, IAP is a major risk factor for increased mortality. The health impact of IAP is exemplarily discussed in two case reports how acute high exposure to carbon monoxide, for instance, can lead to fatal poisoning and death of the whole family.
CONCLUSION: The indoor air poisoning can affect people who are often unaware of the existence of toxic gas, caused by the combustion of biomass in their homes. Therefore community-based preventive intervention trials are needed to educate and alert the people.