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Kampala’s poor air quality attributed to urbanisation

FILE PHOTO: Kampala city

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Health experts have attributed Kampala City’s poor air quality to urbanization.

Speaking during the joint Health Sector Review in Kampala this afternoon, Dr Daniel Okello, the Acting Director of Public Health and Environment at Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) said that Kampala’s air quality is below the recommended World Health Organization-WHO air quality.

He said Kampala air quality with only a few industries and other effects of urbanization that pollute the environment is worse than big cities such as Beijing.

Okello who was making a presentation on emerging health issues in the city warned that if government doesn’t do something about preserving urban environment, the country could be headed for a public health crisis.

He says that they recently did a survey to establish safety where they randomly screened people at the Old tax park in downtown Kampala for tuberculosis.

They found 22 cases of tuberculosis and worryingly the majority of those that tested positive were not coughing which is a common symptom for TB that usually drives people to health facilities.

He noted that because of air pollution, the city has been registering increasing cases of cough, pneumonia and allergies such as asthma.

Okello said that the government should come up with policies for the city that put into account the fact that Kampala has a floating population where a lot of people stay in Kampala, carry along diseases but are not captured in census figures.

As a result, Kampala health facilities are put on pressure by populations that are never budgeted for.

He urged the government to think about initiatives that can reduce air pollution as a matter of urgency since with reduced pollution reduce the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.

World Health Organisation figures show outdoor air pollution in both cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide in 2016.

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