Socio-cultural and economic risk factors for human Brucellosis in Lolgorian Division, TransMara District
Human brucellosis is a severely debilitating disease that requires prolonged treatment resulting in considerable medical expenses and loss of income due to loss of working hours. This study was designed to investigate the socio-cultural and economic risk factors for contracting human brucellosis in Lolgorian division of TransMara district. The overall objective of the study was to investigate the socio-cultural and economic factors that contribute to the risk of contracting human brucellosis. Emphasis was put on the traditional animal husbandry practices, the socio-cultural and dietary practices that contribute to risk of infection and gender roles and responsibilities, all of which contribute to risk of human brucellosis among residents of Lolgorian Division of Trans Mara district. Data were collected in four locations of Lolgorian division. Tools used were structured questionnaires, key informant interviews and focus Group Discussions. The findings show that the people in this division were aware about the potential of animals transmitting diseases to humans and they knew about the existence of brucellosis and could tell the symptoms both in human and livestock. The interaction between the respondents and their animals played a role in the transmission of brucellosis. The predisposing factors to risk of brucellosis were due to the parturition of animals during abortion and handling hides and skins without protective clothing. The disease was also associated with the fact that most residents lived in close proximity with livestock especially the lambs, kids, calves and the sick animals, which predisposed them to risk of infection through the contaminated environment. Due to the cultural practices of the residents, raw milk is consumed directly from the animals. The people also eat raw meat and drink raw blood directly after a slaughter. These practices are predisposing factors to brucellosis infections. Women and children were seen to be at risk of brucellosis due to the roles that were assigned to them, which were, milking the animals and talking care of the newly born and the sick animals. The study concludes that animal husbandry practices such as keeping animals (especially the young and sick), inside or in close proximity of human houses, movement of animals in search of pasture, livestock breeding practices, mixing of herds, restocking as a result of purchase or acquisition through cultural events contribute to the risk of infection of human brucellosis in Lolgorian division. Slaughtering of animals, processing and trading hides/skins and consumption of raw or improperly cooked livestock products, such as milk, raw blood and meat contributed to the risk of contracting human brucellosis. Gender roles and responsibilities predispose certain genders through different activities to risk of human brucellosis among the residents of Lolgorian division. The study recommends that socio-cultural and economic risk factors for human brucellosis, be incorporated into information, education and communication (ICT) materials. Sensitization and awareness creation campaigns, that include potential risk factors for brucellosis, be carried out among the community of Lolgorian division.