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Prince of Wales Junior Research Fellow in Air Quality and NCDs supported by AstraZeneca

Outdoor air pollution is a major environmental health problem affecting everyone and is estimated to cause 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide annually, with approximately 92% of pollution-related deaths occur in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). Air pollution-related diseases create a burden the already overstretched public health systems and also cause wider damage the economy by reducing human performance and increasing sick days.

 

About the project


Despite experiencing severe outdoor air pollution in urban areas, Uganda lacks substantive capacity for air quality monitoring and assessment. Public awareness on the status and effects of air pollution is low and there is limited capacity in responsible public agencies and businesses to access, interpret and convert air quality data into effective strategies. Building on existing work, this ambitious study is proposed to explore strategies to reduce outdoor air pollution to foster healthier and safer communities in Uganda and sub-Saharan Africa.

The project has three objectives:

  • Originate strategies to manage air pollution in urban Uganda drawing on analyses of primary and secondary air quality data, and lessons learned from air quality management efforts in London and African cities.
  • Create a platform for knowledge sharing among key air pollution stakeholders in Uganda.
  • Increase capacity around the use of air pollution information in healthcare to help health professionals to manage patients with respiratory disease.

Our approach is to engage directly with key stakeholders within the respective local and national air quality and health governance landscapes.

Dr Gabriel Okello, Prince of Wales Junior Research Fellow

Dr Gabriel Okello, Prince of Wales Junior Research Fellow

Gabriel joined CISL July 2020 as Research Associate. Gabriel is a research active expert with vast experience in renewable energy, air pollution assessment and human exposure science. He is interested in human exposure science with specific interests in the health effects of air pollution and interventions relating to automobile exhaust emissions, biomass fuel smoke, second-hand smoke and emissions from industries. Gabriel is passionate about promoting evidence-based policies and citizen science to reduce human exposure to air pollutants in outdoor, indoor and workplace settings. His research aims to encourage the uptake of air pollution measures and to strengthen knowledge surrounding public health benefits due to cleaner air in all settings; thereby building capacity around the use of air pollution information in healthcare to help manage patients with respiratory disease and multimorbidity.


Biography:

Research interests

Gabriel’s current research interests focus on the interconnectivity between environmental health and disease with a view to helping foster healthier and safer communities. Gabriel has a wider ambition to raise public awareness of air pollution exposure and engage stakeholders across African cities to address the air pollution problem using evidence-based policies and programmes. Gabriel is also interested in increasing capacity around the use of air pollution information in healthcare to help manage patients with respiratory disease and multimorbidity.

Program of translational research focused on air quality measurement and interventions relating to outdoor and indoor pollution; and occupational inhalation hazards.

Career 

  • 2018 to 2020: Founder and Centre Director, African Centre for Clean Air
  • 2015 to 2019: Postgraduate researcher, University of Aberdeen, Respiratory Group
  • 2013 to 2018: Operations Director, Green Heat Uganda
  • 2011 to 2013: Master’s student, Northeast Normal University
  • 2010 to 2011: Nile Breweries Limited

Qualifications

  • PhD Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen
  • Pan African Thoracic Society Methods in Epidemiology Clinical and Research Operations Research (PATS MECOR Level 2), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • M.Sc. Organic Chemistry, Northeast Normal University
  • BSc Food Processing Technology; Kyambogo University

Other affiliations

  • Air Quality Faculty: Pan African Thoracic Society Methods in Epidemiology Clinical and Research Operations Research (PATS MECOR)
  • Biomass Reduction and Environmental Air Towards Health Effects (BREATHE) -Africa Partnership

Funding and awards

  • Systems of Cities: Urban Mobility in Kampala and its Surrounding Areas (PI).
  • Understanding Household Fuel Transitions: The Case of Namuwongo (Kampala). 2020. Collaboration study between ACCA, ACTogether, EASE Women’s enterprise and University of Birmingham (PI)
  • PATS MECOR Small grant. 2019. Determining the level of exposure to ambient air pollution among urban traffic-junction officers in Kampala, Uganda.
  • BREATHE Small Awards 2018: Effect of cooking behaviour on exposure to household air pollution from different cooking fuels (PI)
  • Biomass Reduction and Environmental Air Towards Health Effects in Africa – BREATHE Partnership. MRC, UK. (Postgraduate Researcher)
  • UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Clean Start.
  • Value addition in milk production using renewable energy. United States Africa Development Fund (Co-PI).

Publications

Book chapters

  • Chapter 3: The Impact of Gendered Roles in the Briquette Production and Supply Chain: Lessons Learned from Green Heat Ltd, Uganda.

Special Issue: Recovering Bioenergy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Gender Dimensions, Lessons and Challenges

Reports

  1. Gabriel Okello, Fredrick Mugisha, Irene Namaganda and William Avis. 2020. Understanding Household Fuel Transitions: The Case of Namuwongo (Kampala). A Systems Approach to Air Pollution – East Africa (ASAP-East Africa) project.
  2. Gabriel Okello and William Avis (University of Birmingham). Systems of Cities: Urban Mobility in Kampala and its Surrounding Areas. (Under final review).

Peer reviewed journals

  1. Arti Singh, Gabriel Okello, Sean Semple, Fiona Dobbie, Tarja I. Kinnunen, Kwabena F. Lartey, Divine D. Logo, Linda Bauld, Sampson T. Ankrah, Ann McNeill, Ellis Owusu-Dabo. 2020. Exposure to secondhand smoke in hospitality settings in Ghana: Evidence of changes since implementation of smoke- free legislation. Tob. Induc. Dis. 2020;18(May):44
  2. Gabriel Okello, Kevin Mortimer, Herve Lawin and Sean Semple. 2019. Quantifying exposure to respiratory hazards in sub-Saharan Africa: a simple guide to some practical issues to help plan your study. African J. Respir. Med. Vol 14 No 2
  3. Okello, G., Devereux, G. and Semple, S. 2018, "Women and girls in resource poor countries experience much greater exposure to household air pollutants than men: Results from Uganda and Ethiopia", Environment international, vol. 119, pp. 429-437
  4. Gravely S, Nyamurungi KN, Kabwama SN, Okello G, Robertson L et al. 2018. Knowledge, opinions and compliance related to the 100% smoke-free law in hospitality venues in Kampala, Uganda: cross-sectional results from the KOMPLY Project. BMJ Open 2018;8:e017601. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2017-017601
  5. Tumwesige, V., Okello, G., Semple, S., Smith, J. 2017. Impact of partial fuel switch on household air pollutants in sub-Sahara Africa. Environmental pollution 231 (1)1021-1029.
  6. Okello, G. 2017. Assessing Personal Exposure to Biomass fuel smoke in sub-Saharan Africa using GPS and Time-Activity Diaries data. Global Positioning System in Health Research Network. Issue Number: 11. https://www.gps-hrn.org/pages/admin/ imageUploader/CMS_Photos/welcomeSide/docs/16.pdf

 

"Enhancing population awareness of the health effects of breathing polluted air at home, work and outdoors is key to driving behavioural and policy changes at individual, community, national and international level. This will in turn foster air quality improvements and consequent health benefits for various communities."

Dr Gabriel Okello

 

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"Universities contribute to society through the creation of new knowledge and the development of new skills. It is our aspiration to do this in ways that are relevant and purposeful.

The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme, hosted by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, will help us to do just that by allowing academics to engage productively with business, government and financial institutions for society's benefit – both in the UK and globally."

Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge

Contact

Theo Hacking

Jake Reynolds

Contact research@cisl.cam.ac.uk for further inquiries about the Fellowship Programme or the application process.