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GRIAC researcher Frederik van Gemert wins IPCRG best abstract prize

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28 May 2019

GRIAC researcher dr. Frederik van Gemert has won the first prize for presenting the best abstract during the International Primary Care Respiratory Group (IPCRG) Scientific Meeting which was held in Bucharest, Romania, on 25-26 May 2019. The prize entails free access to the next IPCRG conference to be held in Dublin, Ireland in 2020.

Frederik presented on the effects of implementing improved clean cookstoves and heaters to reduce household air pollution. This was sub-study of FRESH AIR, a project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement no 680997. Notably, exposure to household air pollution is associated with a wide range of health-damaging pulmonary and non-pulmonary outcomes. Besides low availability of respiratory care, the world’s poorest people also have limited opportunities to switch to cleaner fuels, making the provision of improved cookstoves potentially a low cost and sustainable solution. The main aim of this FRESH AIR study, was to evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of locally-tailored implementation of improved cookstoves/ heaters in three low and middle income countries: Uganda, Vietnam and Kyrgyzstan.

This study showed that implementing improved cookstoves/heaters was associated with lower exposure to particle matter smaller than 2.5 µg/m3 (PM2.5) and considerable short-term health outcomes such a cough, wheeze, breathlessness and chest infections. Despite significant improvements, PM2.5 values still remained above the WHO air quality guidelines. The community indicated high acceptance of the improved cookstoves/heaters and almost everybody recommended them to others. On a global scale, besides improved cookstoves, other important household health interventions, such as the improvement of poor living conditions, education, sanitation and nutrition, will demand a new multidisciplinary approach, involving health policymakers and the local government, as well as international partners.

Citation of the abstract

F van Gemert, C de Jong, B Kirenga, P Musinguzi, S Buteme, T Sooronbaev, A Tabyshova, B Emilov, M Mademilov, PA Le, NQ Nguyen, DT Ngoc, H Le, R Chartier, EA Brakema, JF van Boven. Effects of implementing clean cookstoves and heaters to reduce household air pollution: a FRESH AIR study. Oral presentation at the International Primary Care Respiratory Group 6th Scientific Meeting, 2019, Bucharest, Romania.​

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