During the 65th World Health Assembly held in Geneva from May 21 to 26, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves co-hosted with the U.S. Mission Public Affairs Office, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Missions of Kenya and Norway, a side event panel discussion entitled Clean Cookstoves: Home is Where Health Begins.
I had a wonderful opportunity to Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, Assistant Administrator for Global Health with the U.S. Agency for International Development, Dr. Gamaliel Omondi, Senior Public Health Officer with the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and Dr. Amare Gebre Egziabher, Senior Environmental Coordinator with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in a lively discussion about the health benefits associated to cooking with clean cookstoves and fuels.
The panel was moderated by Dr. Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organization. Egziabher, of UNHCR, focused his presentation on how access to innovative technologies, such as clean cookstoves, can transform the lives of millions of vulnerable refugees around the world.
"One efficient cookstove can, on average, save US$168 in household income, cut fuelwood consumption by half, and reduce harmful smoke in the home by 50 percent. Using an efficient cookstove," he added, "will reduce a woman's exposure to sexual and gender based violence. On a yearly basis, she will spend an average of 780 fewer hours collecting wood."