Aflatoxin and communication - lessons learnt from the Aflacontrol project
Communicating the findings Aflacontrol conference 10-12 May 2011 Grand Azalai Hotel Bamako Stanley Guantai / Steve Collins ACDI/VOCA
Genesis of Aflatoxins in Kenya• First incidence recorded in 1960 when 14,000 ducklings died after being fed on groundnut meal ex Uganda. (Moreau, 1978)• In 1977 a large number of dogs and poultry died in Eldoret, Mombasa, and other parts of the country. (Price and Heinonen 1978)• In 1981 first incidence affecting humans recorded when 12 people died in Machakos after consuming Aflatoxins contaminated maize. (Nangindu et al 1982). A large number of dogs and doves also died.• In 1984/5 a large number of poultry died as a result feed based on imported contaminated maize. (Mbugua and Etale, 1987; Manweiller 1987). A shipload of imported yellow maize ordered dumping into the ocean.• 1998 Aflatoxins contaminated beans cause illness in people around Kianjai and children from Kaurine Primary School, Meru North. And 3 students from Mikinduri Secondary School died after consuming Aflatoxins contaminated maize. (District Public Health office Maua, records).• 1998 3 people from same family aged 8, 11 and 22 years died after consuming mouldy maize in Nathu sub-location Meru North. 26 others admitted to Maua Methodist Hospital with severe liver damage, 16 of them died. (District public health office records, Maua)• 2002 A large number of dogs and poultry died in an outbreak of aflatoxicosis in various parts of the country but most severely in the coast region.
Genesis of Aflatoxins in Kenya cont.---• The Period 1970 to 2002 incidences of Aflatoxins poisoning in poultry and dogs reported. (Veterinary diagnostic records University of Nairobi)• 2003-- 6 people died in Thika after consuming Aflatoxins contaminated maize.• 2004-- 331 people in eastern Kenya affected resulting in 125 deaths• 2005-- 75 people in eastern Kenya affected resulting in 32 deaths• 2006--24 deaths reported by extension officers in Ndithini (Thika), Matiliku and Kisauni (Makueni) and Mutomo (Kitui)• 2007– 5 deaths reported by extension officers in Kasekeu/ Makindu (Makueni)• 2008-- 3 deaths reported by extension officers in Kibwezi, maize samples collected in Mutomo (Kitui) and Ishiara (Embu) with high levels of Aflatoxins.• 2010-- Large number of dogs died after being fed on suspect maize. Cases of persons hospitalized, one family of 10 hospitalized in Kaiti. Over 2.3 million bags of maize suspected to be contaminated leading to country wide free fall in prices from Kshs 1800 to under 1000 per 90 kg bag. But all that maize consumed within the region and key urban areas.
The problem • The problem starts at the farm but extended and magnified through poor handling, storage and packaging. – producers, traders, transporters, processors, retailers and consumers involved. • Consumer awareness is very low. - Consumers often buy that with a lower price tag • Business ethics not always practiced. • Retailers not differentiating quality parameters for commodities. • Health aspects are chronic but not always seen as part of aflatoxins.
Aflacontrol Project• With the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation working on Groundnuts and Maize value chains in Mali and Kenya.• Preliminary findings indicate problem is endemic in the regions covered.• Contamination starts on the farm before harvest.• Farmer handling practices suspect.• Myths and misinformation abound.• Expect the government to shoulder the problem. Problem not understood clearly.
Interventions before Aflacontrol • Official interventions have been on start - stop mode, depending on severity. • Authorities fear of panic among consumers. • Trying to protect government stocks. • Centre for Disease Control (CDC) but only for emergencies, and FAO have been part of team supporting government. • ACDI/VOCA involved since 2004 and have developed training manuals on post harvest handling, storage management and on mycotoxins. • Involved in training extension workers, farmers and traders in eastern Kenya and KMDP Project area. • Training covers GAP, PHH and mycotoxins.
How to create awareness • Train trainers • Involve producers, traders, processors, transporters and consumers. • School children for long lasting effects. • Start awareness campaigns early. • Advise on Good Agricultural Practices. • Advise on Business Ethics • Advise on simple, practical remedial approaches (HACCP).
Good Agricultural Practices • Ensuring a healthy crop to reduce chance of fungal attack. • Proper handling at harvest, drying and cleaning before storage
Reaching out to the government • Work with government departments. • Carry out regular briefs with relevant senior officials. (2 briefs, plus visit by aflacontrol experts) • Involve National Research institutions. (KARI director briefed and involved) • Involve Public Health officials. • Share with other stakeholders (Conference held in January 2011) • Train trainers among extension workers Remember If you go it alone there is dissent
Integrated approach• Create close linkages with the government, donors and development partners.• Avoid duplication of efforts.• USAID / USDA / CDC briefing to partners (ACDI/VOCA among them)• Problem not segmented (Ministry of agriculture and Public health do not see it from the same page).• Research should seek viable and practical solutions that are simple and affordable.
Reaching out to stakeholders alongthe value chain. • Demystify the problem. • Reach out through opinion leaders and officials. • Public barazas, social gatherings field days and agricultural shows. • Mass media • Mobile phone SMS • Bulletins and quarterly magazines. • Electronic updates and briefs. • website: http://programs.ifpri.org/afla/afla. asp
Campaigns • Tell a story that farmers and traders can relate to through posters and pamphlets. • Call lines for Q & A, Short messages through mobile phones and internet. • Use local dialect where appropriate.
Focus on women audience • Women do most of the work on the farm and feeding the family. • Often neglected in decision making hence change takes time to be assimilated
Seeking solutions • Ensure officials and target group feel ownership is shared. • Simple and practical solutions to convey hope. • Low cost simple diagnostic tools and equipment. • Viable bio-control methods. • Keep the concerns current.
To sustain the campaigns• Conferences and regional workshops.• Publications and printing of pamphlets and posters some in local dialects.• Bulletins and quarterly magazines.• Skits during public gatherings to convey strong messages.• Radio and TV talk shows.• Field level workshops and training sessions.• Epidemiological studies and interrelation of findings with mycotoxins.• Consumer education on wholesome Aflatoxins free foods.
Issues on Aflatoxins• To day work is on Agronomic aspects:- – Bio-control – Diagnostics and – Post harvest handling• Need work on Health aspects. – Serological• Overall increased awareness maybe driven by health and not only Agronomic aspects.
Way Forward• Involve the host government and later on multilateral engagement (CILSS, ECOWAS, COMESA, SADAC) which all come under AU.• High interest from donors (particularly if near term solutions are available).
Asante Sana • Acknowledgement for the support and invitation, making it possible to share and exchange experiences. • With the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation