Meenakshi Kushwaha

Project title: Accuracy of Pneumonia Diagnosis for the Cooking and Pneumonia Study Assessment and Training Plan

Degree: MPH | Program: Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) | Project type: Practicum
Completed in: 2014 | Faculty advisor: William E. Daniell



          Indoor air pollution from open fires and leaky stoves is a major threat to health, ranking 10th in the WHO comparative risk assessment for the global burden of disease. Malawi has the highest rates of death among infants and children under 5 deaths with  pneumonia being the leading cause of childhood mortality.

Cooking and Pneumonia Study

           The object of the Cooking and Pneumonia Study (CAPS) is to determine whether an advanced cookstove intervention that reduces biomass smoke exposure can prevent pneumonia in children aged younger than 5 years in Malawi. In this ongoing study, 150 villages were randomly assigned to intervention and control groups. A total of 10,000 children from these villages will be tracked for two years. Two Philips fan-assisted cookstoves will be supplied to each intervention household to replace their traditional cooking methods. Control households will continue using the traditional cooking methods. The primary outcome of interest is reduction in pneumonia in children under 5 years of age. Secondary outcomes will be other health benefits, reduction in air pollution, economic advantage and increased social engagement with innovation.

Need for Knowledge Assessment

             Physicians use the WHO IMCI pneumonia assessment protocol for diagnosis which is the primary outcome of the study. Successful study implementation therefore relies on accuracy of childhood pneumonia diagnosed by clinical staff. Since this is such a crucial aspect of the research project, there is a need for  knowledge assessment to determine whether the IMCI criteria for pneumonia has been successfully taught to the health workers, how compliant they are with using the criteria and if they are not compliant, to get a better sense of why (equipment/knowledge/time).