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Smoke exposure, hemoglobin levels and the prevalence of anemia: a cross-sectional study in urban informal settlement in Southern Ghana.

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Appiah-Dwomoh, Cyril 
Tettey, Prudence 
Akyeampong, Enoch 
Amegbor, Prince 
Okello, Gabriel 


BACKGROUND: In sub-Saharan African cities, more than half of the population lives in informal settlements. These settlements are close to smoky dumpsites, industrial plants, and polluted roads. Furthermore, polluting fuels remain their primary sources of energy for cooking and heating. Despite evidence linking smoke and its components to anaemia, none of these studies were conducted on populations living in urban informal settlements. This study investigated the risks of anemia/mean Haemoglobin (HB) levels in an informal settlement in Accra, Ghana. Exposure to smoke was examined across various sources, encompassing residences, neighborhoods, and workplaces. METHODS: The study was a facility-based cross-sectional design among residents at Chorkor, an informal settlement in the Greater Accra region of Ghana. A questionnaire was administered at a community hospital during an interview to gather data on sources of smoke exposure in the household, in the neighbourhood, and in the workplace. A phlebotomist collected blood samples from the participants after the interview to assess their anaemia status. RESULTS: The population (n = 320) had a high prevalence of anemia, with 49.1% of people fitting the WHO's definition of anemia, while the average HB level was 12.6 ± 2.1 g/dL. Anemia was associated with the number of different types of waste burnt simultaneously [(1 or 2: prevalence ratio (PR): 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.14, 0.99-1.28: 3+: 1.16, 1.01-1.63, p-for-trend = 0.0082)], fuel stacking [(mixed stacking: 1.27, 1.07-1.20: dirty stacking:1.65, 1.19-2.25, p-for-trend = 0.0062)], and involvement in fish smoking (1.22, 0.99-1.06). However, the lower limit of the CIs for number of different forms of garbage burned simultaneously and engagement in fish smoking included unity. Reduced mean HB levels were associated with the number of different types of waste burnt simultaneously [(1 or 2: regression coefficient (β): 95% confidence interval (CI), -0.01, -0.97- -0.99: 3+: -0.14, -0.77- -0.05)], current smoker [(yes, almost daily: -1.40, -2.01- -0.79: yes, at least once a month: -1.14, -1.79- -0.48)], Second-Hand-Smoking (SHS) (yes, almost daily: -0.77, -1.30- -0.21), fuel stacking [(mixed stacking-0.93, -1.33-0.21: dirty stacking-1.04, -1.60- -0.48)], any smoke exposure indicator in the neighbourhood (-0.84, -1.43- -0.25), living close to a major road (-0.62, -1.09- -0.49), and fish smoking (-0.41,-0.93- -0.12). CONCLUSION: Although the cross-sectional design precludes causality, smoke exposure was associated with mean HB levels and anaemia among populations living in informal settlements.


Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the Chiefs, elders, and study participants of Chorkor.


Ambient air pollution, Anemia, Household air pollution, Informal settlement, Smoke exposure, Humans, Cross-Sectional Studies, Prevalence, Ghana, Anemia, Hemoglobins

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BMC Public Health

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC