Margo Klar, MPH '11

San Vicente, Honduras

 

I completed a pilot study over the summer in the town of San Vicente in the Western Highland Region of Honduras. The goal of my research was to assess if treated cooking stoves lessened indoor air pollution levels and respiratory symptoms in a target sample of 70 homes. Stove treatment means replacing a traditional, unvented stove with a stove that is designed to be more efficient and emit less particulate matter into the home, thereby potentially resulting in decreased respiratory symptoms. My primary objectives were to determine if particulate matter and carbon monoxide concentrations measured over a 24-hour period were lower in 35 homes with the stove treatment versus the levels in 35 homes without, and to determine the prevalence of respiratory symptoms experienced by the women and children in these homes over the previous six months while controlling for income, education, occupation, smoking and trash burning characteristics. This project was a valuable learning experience. I formulated and conducted my own public health study in a rural environment that had minimal resources. My findings could potentially improve the health of a group of Hondurans who do not have the resources to readily improve their own health situation.