Developing Affordable Designs to Increase Household Ventilation and Improve Health in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Respiratory disease kills approximately 1.3 million children per year. Descriptive studies in resource-limited settings find that natural ventilation via windows is associated with less respiratory disease transmission, yet more than one-third of the population of Bangladesh lives in dwellings that lack windows and are high in indoor air pollution. Current approaches to improve respiratory health in such settings have largely focused on reducing indoor air pollution through clean cookstove technology, which requires habitual behavior change.
This project takes a novel approach to the problem by developing affordable designs to increase household ventilation – the adoption of which requires new norm-setting and only limited behavior change. Given typical household roles, this approach to addressing unhealthy urban living environments may be particularly effective in reducing respiratory disease for women and young children.
As a collaboration between Dr. Stephen Luby of Stanford University and a team of academic experts and field researchers, this project brings together a group with diverse skills and backgrounds that can take a unique approach to an important research question. Building on findings from an initial pilot study supported by Stanford's Center for Innovation in Global Health, Dr. Luby and his team aim to conduct the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluating the impact of improved household ventilation on the incidence of respiratory disease in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Before the RCT, the team will carry out a design phase to optimize the approach to ventilation and understand the market for windows and landlords’ willingness to pay. The project’s goal is not only to inform global health standards about the importance of ventilation for child health, but also to demonstrate the financial incentives for landlords so that the intervention can scale through the private market without donor capital.