Case Synopsis

In Ghana, smoke from biomass fuel cook stoves leads to acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) in children under five. Akosua Agborson, a research fellow, had the opportunity to work with the Ghana Randomized Air Pollution and Health Study (GRAPHS) team at the Kintampo Health Research Centre to address this public health issue. The GRAPHS team is responsible for reducing air pollution and improving cook stoves for households in Ghana. Akosua decided to support the GRAPHS team by doing a case research study on gari processing involving biomass fuel. She focused on gari processors because Ghana is the sixth largest producer of gari (cassava grits) in the world. Akosua and the GRAPHS team interviewed gari processors, community leaders, and the district government officer in order to understand the levels of knowledge about health risks and the perceptions of air pollution attributable to biomass fuel used in the gari processing industry.

Case Objectives

  1. To illustrate the challenges of overcoming a lack of health knowledge among vulnerable people.
  2. To identify the optimal strategy for promoting health and motivating change.
  3. To develop a plan for health promotion that is informed by an understanding of the context.
  4. To navigate the complexities of industry and innovation in formulating public health strategy.

Case Study Questions

  1. What is the willingness of gari processors to adopt clean cook stoves?
  2. What strategies can improve gari processors’ knowledge base on the health risks from smoke inhalation?
  3. What strategies can be implemented to reduce harm from exposure to pollutants in the short-term?
  4. What is the optimal approach to designing improved cook stoves for use in the gari processing industry?
  5. How can the cost of improved cook stoves be subsidized to minimize the financial impact on the women?
  6. How beneficial would an alternative source of fuel be to the gari industry?


air pollution, biomass fuel, cook stoves, cassava, manioc, gari, gari processing industry, health knowledge, health promotion, Ghana

Additional Author Information

Omolola Oyinkan Adeshina, BSc, MPH

Kwaku Poku Asante, MD, MPH, PhD, Head of Research

Ava John-Baptiste, PhD, Assistant Professor



Recommended Citation

Oyinkan Adeshina, O., Poku Asante, K., John-Baptiste, A. (2016). The Fire Under the Shed: The Cornerstone Fuelling Our Plight. in: Terry, A.L. & John-Baptiste, A. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2016. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.