Perceptions and Practices towards anaemia and bovine blood use in Kisumu County, Kenya.
Andago, Angela A.
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The study was conducted in Kisumu East District of Kisumu County. The district was purposively selected due to the high prevalence of anemia and the traditional acceptance of bovine blood as food. Approval for the study was obtained from the ethical committee of the University of Nairobi and the provincial public health and sanitation authorities in Kisumu. Informed consent was also obtained from all participants. A rapid assessment using qualitative techniques was conducted in the community. Key informant interviews were held with nutrition and health experts, these were the Nyanza provincial nutritionist (now the county nutrition services coordinator), the district nutritionist, the district public health officer, and the district veterinary health officer. Focus group discussions were held with community health workers, mothers of young children, fathers of young children and senior citizens. Free listing was incorporated within the group discussions. Structured question guides were used during the sessions. The discussions and interviews were recorded then transcribed and uploaded in Atlas Ti software for coding and subsequent analysis. There is a high prevalence (about 50%) of severe anaemia among young children in Kisumu East district. Community group participants were generally aware of anemia as a condition perceived as lack of blood or iron; it is also largely associated with malaria. Community members mainly identify anaemia through symptoms such as hand and eye pallor. There is no specific local name for anaemia and the terms used like ‘ng’at ma rembe tin’ are mainly a conjugation of words. The main causes of anaemia in the community are seen as malaria, diarrhoel diseases, poor quality diets, HIV and poverty. Porridge is the most common complementary food for young children. Mixed flour porridges of two to four mixtures are common and the most preferred cereals are millet, maize, cassava and sorghum. Ground beans, groundnuts and omena among others are also used in porridge mixtures. The special foods for anaemic children were given as bovine blood, liver, beans, omena, fish and traditional dark green leafy vegetables. Bovine blood is cheap or free unlike liver which is expensive and the main sources are abbatoirs or home slaughter.