The effects of climate on human health vary by region, according to people’s vulnerability and resilience of populations. Few studies attempt to establish relationships between acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) and weather conditions as ALRI are the leading cause of deaths among children under 5 worldwide. The aim of this study was to contribute to the understanding of the spatiotemporal distribution of ALRI cases amongst children in rural areas of Benin in relation to weather factors and desert dust. We have shown that the intra- annual variability of ALRI amongst children is strongly influenced by the rainy season. The strong character of the dry season seems to increase the prevalence of ALRI in the entire study area. Particularly wet conditions during the rainy season are associated with an increase in ALRI cases, especially in the north of the study area. We also identified that there is a peak in March in the north of the study area. During Saharan dust events, PM10 concentrations in the breathed air are multiplied by 18.5 in northern Benin. At the same time, the monthly ALRI rate increase of 12.5%. The diversity of the results, both in space and in time, proved the importance of the choice of scales. The health zone proved to be a relevant scale analysis. Regarding the temporal resolution, the difficulty of obtaining health data daily appeared repeatedly as an important constraint. The theme of this research is an important issue, rarely discussed, which can be expected to lead to significant advances in terms of public health and it leads to useful applications in the field of prevention.
|Date of Award||26 Sep 2013|
|Supervisor||Sabine HENRY (Supervisor), Nicolas DENDONCKER (President), Godelieve MASUY-STROOBANT (Jury), Pierre Ozer (Jury), Benjamin SULTAN (Jury) & Patrick KOLSTEREN (Co-Supervisor)|