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Foodborne diseases control: Afrique One-ASPIRE engages in the struggle

Foodborne diseases (FBD) have emerged as a major public health problem worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), almost 1 in 10 people fall ill every year from eating contaminated food. To address FBD, the research consortium Afrique One-African Science Partnership for Intervention Research Excellence (ASPIRE) incorporated foodborne diseases and nutritional illnesses into one of its five Thematic Training Programmes (TTP) and recruited 13 fellows including 2 postdocs, 7 PhD students and 4 Master students.

From the 24th to 26th of May 2017, all members of the TTP foodborne diseases and nutritional illnesses (TTP Food), including the director of Afrique One-ASPIRE and leader of the TTP Food, Prof Bassirou Bonfoh and the deputy director and co-leader of the TTP Food, Dr Sayoki Mfinanga, were gathered in Grand-Bassam for the TTP Food kick off meeting. Profs Sabiba Amouzou of the African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education (CAMES) and Marina Koussémon of the University Nangui Abrogoua (UNA) honoured the meeting with their presence.

A major goal of the meeting was that participants become familiar with each other and with the research activities planned or ongoing under the TTP Food. It was also a good occasion for the 13 fellows to present their research protocol and receive feedback from their supervisors and the training coordinator. The main topics covered by their research are (i) Value chain of animal source food, (ii) Consumption patterns and related risks and (iii) the cost effectiveness design of intervention.

Another significant point of the TTP Food kick off meeting was the training during a field visit to a traditional Ivorian restaurant to observe safety and consumption of raw food, the environment and the business of the establishment. Some courses on participatory risk analysis, inter-trans and multidisciplinary approaches were given by the supervisors. In addition, the Afrique One-ASPIRE coordination team presented rules of management within the consortium (finance, communication, monitoring and evaluation) and the training representative outlined the different training opportunities available.

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