Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution- related Health Problem in Ethiopia: Review of Related Literature


  • Worku Tefera
  • Araya Asfaw
  • Frank Gilliland
  • Alemayehu Worku
  • Mehari Wondimagegn
  • Abera Kumie
  • Jonathan Samet
  • Kiros Berhane


Abstract Background: The health effects of air pollution are generally global problems, but they have, since recently become issues of particular concern for developing countries. This review assessed the situation of air pollution and related health effects in the context of Ethiopia. Methods: The materials reviewed in this publication are published scientific papers from online search engines, unpublished government reports and academic theses/dissertations. In addition, interview data obtained from authorities and experts involved in the management of air quality were analyzed, interpreted and reported in the article. Results: Review of the few studies conducted in Ethiopia showed that average concentrations of PM2.5 reached as high as 280 µg/m3 for 24-hour measurements (range: 2,417-12,739 µg/m3). Indoor carbon monoxide (CO) levels were universally higher than regulatory limits for the United States and were found to be much higher among households using traditional stoves and solid biomass fuels. The use of traditional stoves and solid biomass fuels was reported in >95% of the households considered. High average levels of NO2 (97 ppb) were reported in a large longitudinal study. The ambient PM10 level was below the WHO guideline values in the majority of the samples. About 50% of the on- road CO samples taken from traffic roads in Addis Ababa were found to be less than the guideline values while the number of motor vehicles in Ethiopia is reported to be increasing by more than 9% per annum. There is a very limited air quality monitoring capacity in the country. The co-ordination between stakeholders in this regard is also inadequate. The limited evidence available on health effects of air pollution indicates that the prevalence of acute respiratory illness among children living in households using crude biomass fuels is significantly higher than the national average figures. Conclusion: The limited evidence reviewed and reported in this article indicates high levels of indoor air pollution and trends of worsening outdoor air pollution. This tentative conclusion carries with it the urgent need for more evidence- based research and capacity building in the areas of indoor and outdoor air pollution [Ethiop. J. Health Dev.2016;30(Special Issue):5-16]




How to Cite

Tefera, W., Asfaw, A., Gilliland, F., Worku, A., Wondimagegn, M., Kumie, A., Samet, J., & Berhane, K. (2016). Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution- related Health Problem in Ethiopia: Review of Related Literature. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development. Retrieved from



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