Assessing the Impact of Water Filters and Improved Cook Stoves on Drinking Water Quality and Household Air Pollution: A Randomised Controlled Trial in Rwanda. PLoS One, March 2014.
Ghislaine Rosa, Fiona Majorin, et al.
Diarrhoea and respiratory infections remain the biggest killers of children under 5 years in developing countries. We conducted a 5-month household randomised controlled trial among 566 households in rural Rwanda to assess uptake, compliance and impact on environmental exposures of a combined intervention delivering high-performance water filters and improved stoves for free. Compliance was measured monthly by self-report and spot-check observations. Semi-continuous 24-h PM2.5 monitoring of the cooking area was conducted in a random subsample of 121 households to assess household air pollution, while samples of drinking water from all households were collected monthly to assess the levels of thermotolerant coliforms.
Adoption was generally high, with most householders reporting the filters as their primary source of drinking water and the intervention stoves as their primary cooking stove. However, some householders continued to drink untreated water and most continued to cook on traditional stoves. The intervention was associated with a 97.5% reduction in mean faecal indicator bacteria (Williams means 0.5 vs. 20.2 TTC/100 mL, p<0.001) and a median reduction of 48% of 24-h PM2.5 concentrations in the cooking area (p = 0.005). Further studies to increase compliance should be undertaken to better inform large-scale interventions.