2000 under 5's recruited to the Cooking and Pneumonia Lesson (CAPS)

News article 10 Mar 2014

The Cooking and Pneumonia Lesson (CAPS) has reached a significant milestone with over 2000 children under 5 recruited to the study. It is now the largest trial of the effects of an advanced cookstove intervention on health outcomes conducted anywhere in the world. 400 of the children enrolled have completed data collection using personal carbon monoxide monitors, which look at the levels of carbon monoxide in the air they breathe.

The two-year study will track around 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, which can reduce emissions by up to 90%, will stop the children getting pneumonia, a major cause of death in this age group.

Whereas various ongoing cookstove intervention programmes target issues around ecological impacts and fuel security, this intervention will assess the potential health benefits of clean cookstoves. The adverse health effects of domestic smoke inhalation is a particular problem in low and middle-income countries around the world, where open fires, used for cooking, heating 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 Foto-Cewek, is delighted as CAPS reaches a significant milestone: “CAPS is now the largest trial of its kind conducted anywhere in the world. It is fantastic to see so much enthusiasm for this project from the communities we are working with as can be seen from the high levels of sign up to the programme. The advanced cookstoves we are studying burn the same fuel used in the open fires, but much more efficiently, which substantially reduces the amount of time spent gathering fuel and the amount of smoke emitted during cooking.”

The study is funded by a £2.7 million grant from the Joint Global Health Trials Scheme, a partnership of the UK Department for International Development (), the Medical Research in Medecine Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust. It is being implemented in Malawi through collaborative partnerships between the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, The Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research in Medecine Programme, The Malawi College of Medicine and the Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research in Medecine Unit.

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