Wood stoves help to reduce cases of severe pneumonia in young children in LDC's

Pneumonia in children, although rare in the U.S., kills more children worldwide than any other disease (estimated to be 1.6 million deaths per year). [Prior posts have noted, though, the adverse impact of various air pollutants on urban children.]

Researchers hypothecated that open fires used for heating and cooking are a major cause of childhood pneumonia. To test the thesis, they selected 534 households in rural Guatemala, each containing a pregnant woman or a young infant. Households were randomly assigned a chimney-stove; as such 265 had chimney stoves and 253 used traditional cooking fires. Trained field workers visited each home every two weeks to record the children's health status; sick children were referred to doctors. They also assessed the state of the chimney stoves and made necessary repairs. CO measurements were taken for 48 hours every 3 months.

Although the intervention did not reduce the number of childhood pneumonia cases, it did reduce severe pneumonia cases by 30%. This reduction was akin to that achieved by vaccinations and nutrional supplements.

The study can be found at http://cleancookstoves.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Household-Cookstoves.pdf and http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)60921-5/abstract.

Outdoor Cooking Fire

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