Low-smoke chulha in Indian slums: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Megha Thakur*, Esther A Boudewijns, Giridhara R Babu, Bjorn Winkens, Luc P de Witte, Jeroen Gruiskens, Preeti Sushama, Cristian T Ghergu, Onno C P van Schayck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Biomass fuel is used as a primary cooking source by more than half of the world's population, contributing to a high burden of disease. Although cleaner fuels are available, some households continue using solid fuels because of financial constraints and absence of infrastructure, especially in non-notified slums. The present study documents a randomised controlled study investigating the efficacy of improved cookstove on the personal exposure to air pollution and the respiratory health of women and children in an Indian slum. The improved cookstove was based on co-creation of a low-smoke chulha with local communities in order to support adaption and sustained uptake.

METHODS: The study will be conducted in a non-notified slum called Ashrayanagar in Bangalore, India. The study design will be a 1:1 randomised controlled intervention trial, including 250 households. The intervention group will receive an improved cookstove (low-smoke chulha) and the control group will continue using either the traditional cookstove (chulha) or a combination of the traditional stove and the kerosene/diesel stove. Follow-up time is 1 year. Outcomes include change in lung function (FEV1/FVC), incidence of pneumonia, change in personal PM2.5 and CO exposure, incidence of respiratory symptoms (cough, phlegm, wheeze and shortness of breath), prevalence of other related symptoms (headache and burning eyes), change in behaviour and adoption of the stove. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Institutional Ethics Committee of the Indian Institute of Public Health Hyderabad- Bengaluru Campus.

DISCUSSION: The findings from this study aim to provide insight into the effects of improved cookstoves in urban slums. Results can give evidence for the decrease of indoor air pollution and the improvement of respiratory health for children and women.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial was registered with clinicaltrials.gov on 21 June 2016 with the identifier NCT02821650 ; A Study to Test the Impact of an Improved Chulha on the Respiratory Health of Women and Children in Indian Slums.

Original languageEnglish
Article number454
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2017


  • Adult
  • Air Pollution, Indoor
  • Carbon Compounds, Inorganic
  • Child
  • Cooking
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Particulate Matter
  • Pneumonia
  • Poverty Areas
  • Research Design
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Smoke
  • Sulfides
  • Urban Population
  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Slums
  • Respiratory health
  • Protocol
  • Improved cookstove
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Air pollution

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