The Cooking and Pneumonia Study (CAPS) begins

News article 11 Dec 2013

The Cooking and Pneumonia Study (CAPS) has started in earnest this week, with 50 of the 150 villages signed up for the programme starting. Over the next few months the remaining villages will come online for what is the largest study of its kind. In total 10,000 cookstoves will be delivered for the randomised trial which will take place over two years and investigate the impact of advanced cookstove intervention to prevent pneumonia in children under five in Malawi

The study will track 10,000 children aged under five years who live in randomised villages in Chikhwawa and Chilumba in Malawi. The homes of the children involved in the study will be supplied with two clean cookstoves to see if the new stoves will stop the children getting pneumonia, a major cause of death in this age group.

Whereas various ongoing cookstove interventions try to target issues around ecological devastation and fuel security this intervention will try to assess, through a randomised trial set-up, the health benefits of clean cookstoves aimed to reduce the effects of domestic smoke inhalation. This is a problem in low and middle income countries around the world, where open fires, used for heating, cooking and lighting, are commonly used inside the main living quarters of homes.

Co-Principal Investigator Dr Kevin Mortimer, a Respiratory Consultant at Liverpool’s Aintree University Hospital and Senior Clinical Lecturer at LSTM, is out in Malawi for the start of the trial. Dr Mortimer said: “It is fantastic to be here as the study begins, and we look forward to collecting the data as people start using the cookstoves. They will burn the same fuel used in the open fires, but much more efficiently, which reduces the amount of smoke emitted by around ninety per cent. The implications could be enormous and benefit millions of people around the world.”

The study was recently awarded £2.7 million by the Joint Global Health Trials Scheme, a partnership of the UK Department for International Development (DfID), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust. It will be visited in its first week by a delegation of journalists organised by the UN Foundation.

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