Working conditions and public health risks in slaughterhouses in western Kenya

Cook, E. A. J., de Glanville, W. A., Thomas, L. F., Kariuki, S., Bronsvoort, B. M. d. C. and Fèvre, E. M. (2017) Working conditions and public health risks in slaughterhouses in western Kenya. BMC Public Health, 17, 14. (doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3923-y) (PMID:28056885) (PMCID:PMC5217581)

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Background: Inadequate facilities and hygiene at slaughterhouses can result in contamination of meat and occupational hazards to workers. The objectives of this study were to assess current conditions in slaughterhouses in western Kenya and the knowledge, and practices of the slaughterhouse workers toward hygiene and sanitation. Methods: Between February and October 2012 all consenting slaughterhouses in the study area were recruited. A standardised questionnaire relating to facilities and practices in the slaughterhouse was administered to the foreperson at each site. A second questionnaire was used to capture individual slaughterhouse workers’ knowledge, practices and recent health events. Results: A total of 738 slaughterhouse workers from 142 slaughterhouses completed questionnaires. Many slaughterhouses had poor infrastructure, 65% (95% CI 63–67%) had a roof, cement floor and walls, 60% (95% CI 57–62%) had a toilet and 20% (95% CI 18–22%) had hand-washing facilities. The meat inspector visited 90% (95% CI 92–95%) of slaughterhouses but antemortem inspection was practiced at only 7% (95% CI 6–8%). Nine percent (95% CI 7–10%) of slaughterhouses slaughtered sick animals. Only half of workers wore personal protective clothing - 53% (95% CI 51–55%) wore protective coats and 49% (95% CI 46–51%) wore rubber boots. Knowledge of zoonotic disease was low with only 31% (95% CI 29–33%) of workers aware that disease could be transmitted from animals. Conclusions: The current working conditions in slaughterhouses in western Kenya are not in line with the recommendations of the Meat Control Act of Kenya. Current facilities and practices may increase occupational exposure to disease or injury and contaminated meat may enter the consumer market. The findings of this study could enable the development of appropriate interventions to minimise public health risks. Initially, improvements need to be made to facilities and practices to improve worker safety and reduce the risk of food contamination. Simultaneously, training programmes should target workers and inspectors to improve awareness of the risks. In addition, education of health care workers should highlight the increased risks of injury and disease in slaughterhouse workers. Finally, enhanced surveillance, targeting slaughterhouse workers could be used to detect disease outbreaks. This “One Health” approach to disease surveillance is likely to benefit workers, producers and consumers.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:
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Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BBSRC) supported LFT &
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:De Glanville, Dr William
Authors: Cook, E. A. J., de Glanville, W. A., Thomas, L. F., Kariuki, S., Bronsvoort, B. M. d. C., and Fèvre, E. M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:BMC Public Health
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1471-2458
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in BMC Public Health 17: 14
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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