Designing a food hygiene intervention for children 6-9 months in an informal settlement in Kisumu, Kenya

Diarrhoea is a major public health issue in developing countries, especially among children as it contributes to growth faltering and malnutrition. Interventions targeting food hygiene are required to prevent the occurrence of diarrhea through contaminated food. The ‘Safe Start’ is a hygiene intervention study being implemented in informal settlements of Kisumu, and targeting early childhood exposure to enteric pathogens through contaminated food. Before introduction of the intervention, a formative study was conducted to identify target behaviours and design an intervention. This paper reports on the Trial of Improved Practices (TIPS) process, carried out during the formative phase and aimed at designing and testing candidate interventions before introduction on a larger scale. The process targeted four major behaviours, hygienic storage, handwashing with soap, hygienic feeding and reheating, and as a result, an intervention comprising education, environmental modification and motivational messaging was designed.