Consumer knowledge of health risk associated with marketed milk: a case study of Kibera division, Nairobi-Kenya
Mbugua, Fidelis Gathoni
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Milk is the first food everybody ever eats and its nutritional value remains valuable throughout the life of a human being. Milk is a good medium for bacterial growth and its inherent danger of transmitting diseases like tuberculosis, paratyphoid, brucellosis and other diarrhoeal diseases makes hygienic handling critical. A cross-sectional survey targeting households was carried out in Kibera Division, Nairobi Province, Kenya. A combination of purposive-convenient sampling, probability proportional to size and simple and systematic random sampling were used to identify the households. The focus of the study was establish some SE-D characteristics of consumers and the relationship amongst them, to determine consumers' level o awareness of safe milk handling, potential health risks associated with milk consumption and the relationship between knowledge and the SE-D characteristics. It is aimed at determining consumers' attitudes towards safety of the marketed milk and how these were related to knowledge and SE-D characteristics. It also aimed at identifying consumers brand choice, establishing consumers' post-purchase practices and how these practices were related to knowledge, attitudes and the SE-D characteristics. Respondents answered pre-tested closed questionnaires through self-administration or interviews with two focus group discussions. Statistical Packages for social sciences (SPSS) was used to process data, which was presented using frequency tables, bar charts and cross-tabulations. Chi-square test of independence at P<0.05 was used to determine relationships between dependent and independent variables. Results showed that about 78% of the respondents were between 20 and 39 years, 63.7% earned Kshs. < 10,000 per month and about 77% had at least a secondary level of education. Those with higher education had better incomes and lived in the middle-upper income areas. Knowledge of potential risks and cross-contamination were moderate (58.7%) to low (41.3%) and was inversely associated with education, income levels and residential areas. Those with less education, low incomes and living in low income areas had medium knowledge as exemplified below; 72.5% with primary level of education had medium knowledge compared to 45% of those with a university education ( df=2, p = 0.001). Attitudes varied from positive (those who felt at risk) to negative (those that felt safe), with 13.2% having positive attitudes, 71.9% moderate and 14.9% negative attitudes. The study also showed that 95.4% of consumers preferred packaged milk but only 83.9% reportedly used it. About 74.1% preferred unpackaged milk due to the price while 87.8% preferred packaged due to safety. Milk was boiled in tea by 97.1 of the respondents even though only 57.7% were aware that it also prolonged the shelf life of milk. A good milk handling practices such as refrigeration and throwing away milk that sour in homes and more to do with ability to afford a refrigerator or incur the loss and was inversely related to knowledge. For example, of those earning an income of less than Kshs. 10,000 per month 72.2% had poor storage practices while 94.6% with an income of Kshs. >40,000 had good storage practices ( df=1, p = 0.0001) while about 60% of those with low knowledge had good storage practices compared to 43.6% of those with medium knowledge ( df=1, p = 0.001). Attitudes influenced the brand of milk and spoilt milk practices. Income was the main factor that determined practices. The KEBS and milk processors in designing labels that have information on milk handling and safe practices can use this information.