Mitigating aflatoxin exposure to improve child growth in Eastern Kenya: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. uri icon

abstract

  • Background: While the few studies that have looked at the association between stunting and aflatoxin exposure have found surprisingly large effects, the results remain inconclusive due to a lack of randomized controlled studies. This protocol describes a non-blinded, cluster-randomized controlled trial with the specific objective of testing the impact of reduced aflatoxin exposure on (individual) child linear growth.
  • Discussion: This study is the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test for a causal impact of aflatoxin exposure on child growth. Whether or not this relationship is found, its results will have implications for the prioritization of aflatoxin control efforts by governments in affected regions, as well as international donors.
  • Methods/Design: Participants were recruited from among households containing women in the last 5 months of pregnancy in 28 maize-growing villages within Meru and Tharaka-Nithi Counties in Kenya. Households in villages assigned to the intervention group are offered rapid testing of their stored maize for the presence of aflatoxin each month; any maize found to contain more than 10 ppb aflatoxin is replaced with an equal amount of maize that contains less than this concentration of the toxin. They are also offered the opportunity to buy maize that has been tested and found to contain less than 10 ppb aflatoxin at local shops. Clusters (villages) were allocated to the intervention group (28 villages containing 687 participating households) or control group (28 villages containing 536 participating households) using a random number generator. The trial, which is funded by United Kingdom (UK) aid from the UK government, the Global Food Security Portal, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, is currently ongoing.

publication date

  • 2015
  • 2015
  • 2015