The Safe Start trial to assess the effect of an infant hygiene intervention on enteric infections and diarrhoea in low-income informal neighbourhoods of Kisumu, Kenya: a study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial

This paper by Mumma et al. (2019) was published in BMC Infectious Diseases. The paper describes the Safe Start trial which aimed to assess the effectiveness of a novel infant food hygiene intervention on infant enteric infections and diarrhoea in peri-urban settlements of Kisumu, Kenya. The researchers carried out a cluster randomised control trial with 50 clusters, representing the catchment areas of Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), randomly assigned to intervention or control. A total of 750 infants were recruited on a rolling basis at 22 weeks of age and then followed for 15 weeks. The intervention targeted four key caregiver behaviours related to food hygiene: 1) hand washing with soap before infant food preparation and feeding; 2) bringing all infant food to the boil before feeding, including when reheating or reserving; 3) storing all infant food in sealed containers; and, 4) using only specific utensils for infant feeding which are kept separate and clean. The primary outcome of interest was the prevalence of one or more of 23 pre-specified enteric infections, determined using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction for enteric pathogen gene targets. In addition, infant food samples were collected at 33 weeks, and faecal indicator bacteria (Enterococcus) isolated and enumerated to assess the impact of the intervention on infant food contamination.    

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