Designing a Food Hygiene Intervention in Low-Income, Peri-Urban Context of Kisumu, Kenya: Application of the Trials of Improved Practices Methodology

This paper by Simiyu et al. (2020) was published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The paper discusses the Safe Start trial. Caregiver practices are important determinants of exposure to foodborne pathogens, and can therefore play a role in reduction in infant food contamination. Through a qualitative approach, the team used the Trials of Improved Practices methodology to design a food hygiene intervention in a low-income settlement of Kisumu city in Kenya. These settlements in Kisumu city host a large portion of the city’s population and are faced with a high diarrheal disease burden. Caregivers were selected if they had a child aged 6–9 months, and together, the researchers codesigned a combination of hardware and messaging components targeting handwashing with soap, hygienic feeding, reheating, and hygienic storage of infant food. Results showed that feeding items were easily adopted by caregivers, whereas reheating of food was less observed. Households reportedly improved their food storage and handwashing practices. As a result, the hardware components were further refined and tested among the caregivers. Messaging components spurred the aspirations that caregivers had for their children and acted as reminders of practicing good food hygiene. The outcomes of the codesign process provided valuable insights on the knowledge of caregivers, a delivery approach for implementing the intervention, and further informed a subsequent trial that adopted the designed intervention to target early childhood exposure to enteric pathogens through contaminated food.

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