CQC is collaborating with Researchers at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to explore the opportunity to make interventions of super-clean efficient cookstoves affordable to rural Malawians that, as a group, suffer extraordinarily high levels of disease from exposure to biomass smoke from cooking over open fires. CQC is a strong proponent of the disruptive technology of “gasifier” stoves, designed originally by Phillips Electronics and now produce by Africa Clean Energy as well as Phillips themselves. CQC’s collaboration is in follow up to the pioneering Cooking And Pneumonia Study (CAPS), a £2.7m MRC, Wellcome Trust and DfID (Joint Global Health Trials Scheme) funded cluster randomised controlled trial of an advanced cookstove intervention to prevent pneumonia in children under 5 years in Malawi (www.capstudy.org). In contrast to the chimney stoves studied in the trials Guatemala and Mexico, the intervention in CAPS is an advanced cookstove that reduces emissions by as much as 90% by incorporating a fan that improves combustion efficiency (12). The trial has recruited to time and target with over 4500 households representing over 9000 children up to 4.5 years old living in 150 village-level clusters having been randomised to receive an advanced cookstove intervention (two Philips fan-assisted stoves with a solar charger) or continuation of traditional cooking methods. The primary outcome is the incidence of pneumonia in children under the age of 5 diagnosed by healthcare providers blinded to trial arm using the WHO Integrated Management of Childhood Illness pneumonia assessment protocol, over 2 years follow up.
Press coverage of CAPS includes BBC News, the MRC, and the American Thoracic Society. CAPS was the focus of a UK Ministerial visit to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. CQC is working with the Wellcome Trust to share material created by CAPS through their Resources for Schools Programme.