IDRC invests in evidence, innovations, and policies to improve health and prevent chronic diseases through healthier food systems in low- and middle-income countries—more than CA$20 million in support of over 35 projects.
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.
Agricultural production is rapidly expanding in Southeast Asia. While this can lead to improved food security, nutrition, and income in the region, it also increases the risk of disease, exposure to chemicals, and the loss of biodiversity. The IDRC-supported Ecohealth Field Building Initiative (FBLI) supports research in the region that aims to improve understanding of the effects of agricultural change on ecosystems and human health, and provide sustainable solutions.