Solid fuel users' perceptions of household solid fuel use in low- and middle-income countries: A scoping review.

01 Oct 2020


Almost half of the global population is exposed to household air pollution (HAP) from the burning of biomass fuels primarily for cooking, and this has been linked with considerable mortality and morbidity. While alternative cooking technologies exist, sustained adoption of these is piecemeal, indicating that there is insufficient knowledge of understandings of HAP within target communities. To identify potential gaps in the literature, a scoping review was conducted focused on solid fuel users' perceptions of HAP and solid fuel use in low- and middle-income countries. From the initial 14,877 search returns, 56 were included for final analysis. An international multi-disciplinary workshop was convened to develop the research question; six key domains: health; family and community life; home, space, place and roles; cooking and cultural practices, environment; and policy and practice development, were also identified using a Social Ecological Model framework. The review showed a series of disconnects across the domains which highlighted the limited research on perceptions of HAP in the literature. Reviewed studies showed that participants emphasized short-term health impacts of HAP as opposed to longer-term health benefits of interventions and prioritized household security over improved ventilation. There was also a socio-demographic gendered disconnect as although women and children generally have most exposure to HAP, their decision-making power about use of solid fuels is often limited. In the domain of policy and practice, the review identified the importance of community norms and cultural traditions (including taste). Research in this domain, and within the environment domain is however limited and merits further attention. We suggest that interventions need to be locally situated and community-led and a deeper understanding of perceptions of HAP could be obtained using participatory and innovative research methods. Bridging the disconnects and gaps identified in this review is essential if the global disease burden associated with HAP is to be reduced.

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Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
McCarron A, Uny I, Caes L, Lucas SE, Semple S, Ardrey J, Price H