Skip to main content

Free Content Feasibility of conducting a randomised controlled trial of a cookstove intervention in rural Malawi

Download Article:
(PDF 735.0 kb)


BACKGROUND: Exposure to household air pollution (HAP) causes 4 million deaths annually, and strategies to reduce HAP exposure are urgently required.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of conducting a trial of a cookstove intervention in rural Malawi.

DESIGN: Non-smoking women were randomised to continuing to use an open fire (control) or to using a wood-burning clay cookstove (intervention). Symptom burden, oxygen saturation and exhaled carbon monoxide (eCO) were assessed at baseline and 7-day follow-up. A subset of women underwent HAP exposure monitoring.

RESULTS: Of 51 women recruited, 50 (98%) completed the main study. The methodology was acceptable to participants. Headache, back pain and cough were the most commonly reported symptoms at baseline and follow-up. Median eCO was within normal limits, but with a difference of 0.5 parts per million (ppm) in median change of eCO from baseline to follow-up seen between the two groups (P = 0.035). The peak ambient CO concentration detected was 150 ppm.

CONCLUSION: This study suggests that a large cookstove intervention trial in Malawi would be feasible with careful community sensitisation. Monitoring exposure to HAP is challenging, and further studies evaluating potential biomarkers of exposure, including eCO, should be undertaken.

Keywords: biomarker; carbon monoxide; pollution; respiratory symptoms; smoke

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK; University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK 2: Concern Universal, Blantyre, Malawi 3: Clioma Ltd, Lilongwe, Malawi 4: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK

Publication date: 2014-02-01

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
  • Public Health Action
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more