Exposure to biomass smoke increases the risk of acute lower respiratory infections in childhood, particularly pneumonia, which continue to be the single leading cause of death in children under five years. Household air pollution from household energy is ranked fourth in the list of serious threats to health in less developed countries for all ages—after malnutrition, unsafe sex, and unsafe water. The inefficient burning of wood and charcoal for cooking and heating also increases pressures on local natural resources, and exacerbates deforestation.
Past household energy interventions often failed because they did not adequately take into account the needs and preferences of the users; and that sustained improvements in health are dependent on behavior change as well as access to improved products and services, and in some cases financing options. Too few household energy interventions offer options for different consumer preferences and contexts.
WASHplus is involving consumers, governments, and manufacturers in developing Clean Cooking solutions. This may include incorporating strategies to support improved practices, e.g., awareness raising and social marketing, including improved behaviors around fuel use, ventilation, kitchen management and proximity of children while cooking; rigorous quality control and emissions testing to ensure that only quality stoves and fuels are promoted; and capacity building for entrepreneurs.
As the evidence base linking improved cookstoves (ICS) with positive health and energy impacts grows, so does attention on to how best to inﬂuence household uptake and consistent and correct use. WASHplus is conducting a comprehensive assessment to better understand consumer needs and preferences as they relate to increasing the uptake of improved cookstoves in Bangladesh, including household trials of improved stoves.
This study uses qualitative and quantitative methods that draw from social marketing and social science to explore consumer perceptions of five of the most promising ICS potentially available for distribution in Bangladesh. The study complements other efforts by a range of stakeholders to strengthen market‐based approaches and consumer choice for improving household air quality and reducing the environmental impacts associated with dependence on biomass fuels.
In addition to improving WASH and Clean Cooking quality practices and approaches, WASHplus supports the integration of WASH into existing HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health and nutrition and education programs.