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KA Yongabi
GN Teko
C Nji
JB Endeley
A Laar

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KA Yongabi
GN Teko
C Nji
JB Endeley
A Laar

International Research Journal of Public and Environmental Health
Vol.3 (12),pp. 278-285, December 2016
ISSN 2360-8803
Available online at
Article 16/ID/JPRH086/ 08 pages
Author(s) agree that this article remain permanently open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International License.

Original Research Article

Gender assessment of hazard exposure, risk awareness and cultural perceptions associated with firewood usage: A case study of Mendakwe village in Cameroon

Yongabi*1,2 K. A., Teko2 G.N., Nji2 C., Endeley3 J.B and Laar4 A

1Tropical Infectious Diseases and Public Health Engineering Research Group (TIDPHERG), Phytobiotechnology Research Foundation Institute, Catholic University of Cameroon, P.O.Box 921, Bamenda, Cameroon.
2Department of Health Economics, Policy and Management, Catholic University of Cameroon (CATUC) Bamenda, Cameroon.
3Department of Women and Gender Studies, FSMS, University of Buea, Cameroon,
4Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Box LG 13, Legon, Accra, Ghana.

*Corresponding Author Email: yongabika(at)

date Received: October 14, 2016     date Accepted: November 28, 2016     date Published: December 9, 2016


Firewood has been a major source of energy for ages and is still a primary source of energy in rural households worldwide. Its mode of acquisition and usage disproportionately exposes different persons to physical burden, time trade-off and health hazards. This study assessed gender differences in firewood consumption in order to design strategies to protect disadvantaged groups.  A structured questionnaire was used to obtain data from in 255 households randomly selected from 34 clusters about Hazard exposure, risk awareness and cultural perceptions concerning wood fetching, preparing and burning. The data was analyzed on SPSS and the results showed that, 42.2% males and 57.8% females engaged in wood consumption activity.51.6% females and 7.7% males burned wood. 52.2% of all persons did not perceived a health risk while, 10.2% were ignorant of any consequences. 60.72% of persons had a strong cultural perception while 39.28% had a weak cultural perception of fuel wood consumption. Girls were 1.07 times more culturally inclined to firewood usage than boys and 6 times more exposed to related health hazards than boys. Girls were also 1.08 times more likely to be ignorant of the consequences associated with firewood usage than boys.  Promotion of clean energy technologies through research, investment and education and sensitization programs should be promoted with emphasis on females. Current household cooking devices were to be redesigned and adapted to address cultural needs as well as reduce associated current health risks due to air pollution. Intervention strategies to prevent deforestation by discouraging wood sales were also recommended.

Key words: Gender, firewood, hazard, indoor air pollution, risk, exposure, Mendakwe, Cameroon

Yongabi et al