Health and social impacts of improved stoves on rural women: a pilot intervention in Sindh, Pakistan

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


social and health impacts of improved stoves among women. A cross-sectional study was conducted from April to May 2002 among households using improved stoves in the two villages of District Thatta and Hyderabad, Sindh, Pakistan. A questionnaire was administered to 45 women using improved stoves named Smoke Free Stoves (SFS). The same questionnaire was administered to a sample of 114 women, using Traditional Stoves (TS). Carbon monoxide (CO) levels were measured in a sample of both groups. Multivariate analysis was carried out to adjust for confounders. In addition, focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted to evaluate the perception of women regarding acceptability and impact of SFS on women. A majority of women reported that SFS produce less smoke and have a beneficial impact on their health. In the multivariate analysis, symptoms of dry cough (AOR=0.61; 95% CI 0.26-1.41), sneezing (AOR=0.54; 95% CI 0.22-1.30) and tears while cooking (TWC) (AOR=0.51; 95% CI 0.21-1.21) are less likely to occur in women using SFS compared to TS. However, the results were not statistically significant possibly due to the small sample. The mean (+/-s.e.) CO levels were 15.4+/-3.4 ppm in SFS and 28.5+/-5.7 ppm in TS kitchens with a mean difference of -13.1 (95% CI -29.5 and 3.2). The results indicate a trend favorable for SFS and suggest that a larger scale project should be undertaken to reach to a definitive conclusion, ideally using a longitudinal design.


In order to enhance IAQ in kitchens in developing regions of the world stoves for burning of biomass should be constructed in a way that the emission of fuel gases are low. In this way the risk of negative health effects will be reduced.