Managing health risks on small dairy farms in Kenya
Many cattle carry Cryptosporidium, an organism causing gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea that can be dangerous for both humans and animals. Preventing and managing this disease places a heavy burden on hospitals and veterinarians. IDRC-supported research into health hazards on smallholder dairy farms in a poor urban area in Kenya found that eating vegetables contaminated with animal manure or human waste was more dangerous than handling cattle or drinking milk.
Women were more likely to become ill than men because they care for sick family members, feed and water the cattle, and do most of the milking. The research team developed and tested health promotion messages and materials aimed at women, the elderly, children, and people living with HIV/AIDS. The project brought together natural and social scientists, decision-makers, public sector service providers, and members of the community to assess the health risks and find ways to address them.
The results of the research in Dagoretti, Kenya, appear in a special issue of the Tropical Animal Health and Production journal.