Child Survival Workshop in Nepal Provides Preview of Studies’ Preliminary Results

How much can clean cookstoves and fuels reduce incidence of pneumonia in children?  
Does using clean cooking technologies and fuels during pregnancy boost birth weights?

These were two of the many questions under discussion by 30 leading global public health researchers during a three-day meeting to discuss how clean cooking impacts children’s health. The Child Survival Workshop, co-hosted by the Alliance and Johns Hopkins University, provided experts with an opportunity to exchange lessons from the field and to take a first look at early results of ongoing research evaluating the child health benefits of clean cookstoves and fuels.

"When you get this many committed researchers together working on the same topic, there’s an incredible amount of learning taking place," said Dr. Sola Olopade, Professor of Medicine at University of Chicago and Principal Investigator of the Nigeria research trial. "After seeing the preliminary results of the many ongoing studies, I think we’re making significant progress on how much changing to a clean cookstove or fuel can improve a child’s health."

Dr. Darby Jack, Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, is working on another of the Alliance-supported studies that seek to better understand the potential impacts of clean cookstoves and fuels on birth outcomes and child survival in Ghana.  "By measuring the impact of adopting clean cooking during pregnancy on birth weight and childhood pneumonia, we’re hoping to determine how large-scale interventions that target pregnancy can improve health," said Jack. "We hypothesize that birth weight will increase with the clean cooking interventions, and that the incidence of pneumonia will decrease in the first year of life." Results of the study are expected by the end of the year.

The child survival studies, underway in Ghana, Nepal and Nigeria, are some of the first in which truly clean technologies are being evaluated, and they expect to measure the magnitude of health impacts that can be attributed to higher particulate matter reductions due to clean cookstove and fuel interventions.