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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(12), 12997-13016; doi:10.3390/ijerph111212997

Changing Patterns of Health in Communities Impacted by a Bioenergy Project in Northern Sierra Leone

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, P.O. Box, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
University of Basel, P.O. Box, CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland
Helen Keller International Sierra Leone, P.O. Box, Freetown, Sierra Leone
SHAPE Consulting Ltd., Pretoria 0062, South Africa
Helen Keller International, Regional Office for Africa, P.O. Box, Dakar, Senegal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 November 2014 / Revised: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 12 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Impact Assessment: Realizing Its Potential)
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Large private sector investments in low- and middle-income countries are often critically evaluated with regards to their environmental, social, human rights, and health impacts. A health impact assessment, including a baseline health survey, was commissioned by the Addax Bioenergy Sierra Leone project in 2010. As part of the monitoring, a follow-up survey was conducted three years later. A set of health indicators was assessed at six impacted and two control sites. Most of these indices improved, particularly at the impacted sites. The prevalences of stunting, wasting, and Plasmodium falciparum in children under five years of age decreased significantly at impacted sites (all p < 0.05) and non-significantly at control sites. Anemia in children and in women of reproductive age (15–49 years) decreased significantly at impacted and control sites (p < 0.05 and p < 0.001, respectively). Health facility-based deliveries increased significantly at the impacted sites (p < 0.05). The prevalences of helminth infections in children aged 10–15 years remained approximately at the same levels, although focal increases at the impacted sites were noted. Access to improved sanitation decreased significantly (p < 0.05) at control and non-significantly at impacted sites. Water quality remained poor without significant changes. The epidemiologic monitoring of a bioenergy project provides a useful contribution for evidence-based decision-making. View Full-Text
Keywords: anemia; bioenergy; health impact assessment; helminth infection; malaria; nutritional status; Sierra Leone anemia; bioenergy; health impact assessment; helminth infection; malaria; nutritional status; Sierra Leone

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Knoblauch, A.M.; Hodges, M.H.; Bah, M.S.; Kamara, H.I.; Kargbo, A.; Paye, J.; Turay, H.; Nyorkor, E.D.; Divall, M.J.; Zhang, Y.; Utzinger, J.; Winkler, M.S. Changing Patterns of Health in Communities Impacted by a Bioenergy Project in Northern Sierra Leone. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 12997-13016.

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