Fighting childhood pneumonia in Kampala's slums
Fighting childhood pneumonia in Kampala's slums

Each year pneumonia kills

1 million children under the age of five

This is more than HIV,

malaria and diarrhea combined

Inhaling cooking smoke highly increases the risk of pneumonia

... which could easily be prevented by cooking outdoors



Promoting outcoor cooking shelters

All over Kampala’s slums mamas have started building stove shelters made from locally available material. Now they can safely cook outside even in rainy seasons. Outdoor cooking  has drastically improved children’s health. The shelter also prevents children from tipping over the stove and getting burns.

Building on local knowledge and needs

Together with mamas living in the slums and health professionals we develop interventions to fight pneumonia. We use local material, knowledge and expertise to start up sustainable projects that will adequately answer their needs.

Health education by community members

12 women are currently trained to become Health Champions within their own slum communities. Our Champions are not only trained how to prevent and recognize diseases like pneumonia, TB and malaria, but also how to respectfully address families who face health problems. Therefore Health Champions play a central role in improving slum health.

Project evaluation

In 2020 we will measure the effects of our projects on outdoor cooking and health education. We want to see an improvement in respiratory health of children in Kampala’s slums. This evaluation will also provide information on how we can further improve our projects and reach out to more people.



90% of the families living in Kampala’s slum cook indoors in poorly ventilated areas, on cheap charcoal stoves. Until recently nobody had ever told these families that this way of cooking is deadly.


Inhaling this polluted smoke causes astma, COPD, lung cancer and pneumonia. Young children are most at risk of getting pneumonia, because their immune system is not yet fully developed.  They also spend a lot of time in and around the house. Especially in rainy seasons when the heavy rains turn slum streets into impassible and dirty rivers.


Pneumonia is easy to treat with antibiotics and prevented by vaccination, however most families in the slums do are not aware of the danger signals and therefore do not timely take their children to the doctor.


We aim to prevent  and timely treat childhood pneumonia in Kampala's slums by introducing locally originated, low-cost solutions.

Watch how we fight pneumonia together!



Founder and researcher

Vera van Rijn started conducting research in Kampala’s slum in March 2015. She is interested in how women take care of their children while having few resources and little knowledge on health. Although pneumonia is the most common disease under children in these slums, Vera soon found out that most women did not know how to recognize the symptoms of pneumonia, or how to prevent and treat this disease. She founded Clean cooking, healthy lungs to make these women aware that they are themselves capable of adequately fighting pneumonia in their families.



every life logo.jpg


Our partner organization in Uganda, manages the Shelter Project and the Health Champion Project.