Last Friday, ReSurge joined the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to participate in its Cookstoves Future Summit. The Summit convened more than 400 people from around the world in New York City to elevate awareness of the need for clean, safe cookstoves and fuels in all countries around the globe.
Household air pollution is one of the leading health problems associated with the act of cooking in developing countries, but ReSurge was there to be the voice of the other primary health issue related to cooking over open fires or unsafe cookstoves: burns.
Over the last decade, 70 percent of the burn patients ReSurge has treated were burned by open fires or unstable cookstoves used to cook the family meal. Of those patients, 83 percent were women and children. Punkaj's story provides one example of the type of burn injuries we have seen related to terrible cookstoves accidents.
Thankfully, we were able to treat Punkaj over many years, but it is in light of this experience - noting the tragic trends we have seen among our burn patients - that we have joined the public conversation around the need to prevent terrible cooking-related burn injuries from happening in the first place.
At the Summit, ReSurge joined about 70 other organizations, companies, investors, manufacturers and government officials in making public commitments to further the use of clean and safe cookstoves at the Alliance's inaugural Commitment Roundtable.
Noting the undeniable connection between unsafe cooking practices and the disabilities and deaths caused by burn injuries, ReSurge pledged to mobilize advocacy and awareness-raising efforts around safe and clean cooking with the potential to reach an estimated 2 million people over the next year.
Several world leaders joined the Commitment Roundtable to lend their support, including former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ghanaian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanna Tetteh, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende and Baroness Lindsey Northover, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development.
We are hopeful that the momentum around this issue will continue and that by partnering with groups like the Alliance to emphasize the need to make cooking safe in all communities, there will be many fewer women and children like Punkaj coming to us with debilitating burn injuries.