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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Improved stove interventions to reduce household air pollution in low and middle income countries: a descriptive systematic review

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Emma Thomas, Kremlin Wickramasinghe, Shanthi Mendis, Nia Roberts, Charlie Foster
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12889-015-2024-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

ET designed the review, screened titles, abstracts and full texts and drafted the manuscript. KW helped conceive the study and provided input into the review design. SM provided input in the conception and design of the review. NR assisted with the development of key terms and ran the database search. CF assisted with conception and design of the review, development of inclusion criteria, screening of abstracts and full texts and contributed to the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Household air pollution (HAP) resulting from the use of solid fuels presents a major public health hazard. Improved stoves have been offered as a potential tool to reduce exposure to HAP and improve health outcomes. Systematic information on stove interventions is limited.


We conducted a systematic review of the current evidence of improved stove interventions aimed at reducing HAP in real life settings. An extensive search of ten databases commenced in April 2014. In addition, we searched clinical trial registers and websites for unpublished studies and grey literature. Studies were included if they reported on an improved stove intervention aimed at reducing HAP resulting from solid fuel use in a low or middle-income country.


The review identified 5,243 records. Of these, 258 abstracts and 57 full texts were reviewed and 36 studies identified which met the inclusion criteria. When well-designed, implemented and monitored, stove interventions can have positive effects. However, the impacts are unlikely to reduce pollutant levels to World Health Organization recommended levels. Additionally, many participants in the included studies continued to use traditional stoves either instead of, or in additional to, new improved options.


Current evidence suggests improved stove interventions can reduce exposure to HAP resulting from solid fuel smoke. Studies with longer follow-up periods are required to assess if pollutant reductions reported in the current literature are sustained over time. Adoption of new technologies is challenging and interventions must be tailored to the needs and preferences of the households of interest. Future studies require greater process evaluation to improve knowledge of implementation barriers and facilitators.

Review registration

The review was registered on Prospero (registration number CRD42014009796).
Additional file 1: PRISMA 2009 Checklist.
Additional file 2: Embase search terms.
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