Air Quality and Health Impacts: A novel approach to an international cooperative monitoring project in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 2:15 PM
228AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Donna A. Hartz, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ; and R. Pope, G. Simiyu, A. Middel, P. Cheboss, and P. Raburu

Rapid population growth and the effects of climate change can result in challenging environmental problems that negatively impact health. Developing countries are faced with exacerbating circumstances associated with limited financial resources and expertise needed to assess, monitor and address those problems. We present a novel multi-organizational cooperative project to establish an air quality monitoring project in Uasin Gishu County in western/central Kenya, which includes Kenya's fourth largest city, Eldoret. Economic development and rapid population growth in this region of Kenya has brought massive expansion of transportation and vehicular traffic, frequently on unpaved roads, and expanding manufacturing activities – all of which contribute to increased pollution. It has also experienced increases in respiratory and cardiovascular disease and incidences of childhood asthma. The two phase project includes a first phase to identify and map hot spots of high pollution and poor air quality with areas of increased incidences of asthma, and respiratory and cardiovascular disease. A second phase will include the establishment of a permanent air quality monitoring and warning system in Uasin Gishu County. The project was begun through a Sister Cities International relationship that was established between Uasin Gishu County, Kenya and Scottsdale, Arizona, USA in 2014. A key objective of the project aligns with Sister Cities International's motto that “the Sisterhood of Cities Leads to the Brotherhood of People” and a “mission to promote international friendship and goodwill” and will include teams from Arizona and Kenya working side by side with their counterparts— scientists, doctors, and university students. The idea developed following several delegation visits in Uasin Gishu Kenya and Scottsdale, Arizona that included environment and health discussions between environmental scientists at Arizona State University and the University of Eldoret and with medical doctors at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya. The resultant cooperative project will include participants and consultants from a range of organizations in both countries: Sister Cities organizations in Scottsdale and Uasin Gishu County; Arizona State University; University of Eldoret; Maricopa County [Arizona] Air Quality Department, and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.