Collaborative One Health team from the University of Pretoria and University of Fort Hare visit the Eastern Cape abattoirs

Posted on March 03, 2022

A collaborative One Health research team funded by UNICEF embarked on a project to visit several abattoirs in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa to conduct a campaign on zoonotic infections at the abattoir facilities from 7-13 November 2021. This project involved the post-doctoral fellow Dr Francis B. Kolo, and PhD candidate Ms Desiree K. Mazwi of Prof Henriette van Heerden of the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria along with Dr Ishmeal Gogo Jaja of the Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, University of Fort Hare and his MSc students; Makaziwe Chaubula and Diniso Yanga. The team conducted educational sensitization training for abattoir workers on preventative measures to mitigate against animal diseases being passed onto the workers. The team elaborated more on the causes, transmission and prevention of zoonotic diseases. From the interaction with the abattoir workers, it was perceptible to conclude that most of the workers in the abattoir are less aware of zoonotic diseases, which may be transmitted to them through the animals that are slaughtered daily at the abattoir. The team also conducted a survey on the worker’s knowledge and perceptions about disease causing germs (microorganisms) as well as their perception on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). From experience the team discovered that workers have poor knowledge of diseases especially zoonotic diseases caused by microorganisms and the wearing of PPE that protect them from diseases. The team determined the abattoir workers knowledge, attitude and practices towards zoonotic diseases (microorganisms/germs) by evaluating their understanding of germs and the use of PPE. The interaction with the abattoir workers revealed that some believed that germs can been seen with naked eyes. Thus, the team conducted training on the unseen world of germs causing disease and how germs can spread to humans using fluorescent powder that is only visible under black light. Educational materials were distributed to facilitate the worker’s understanding of germs, zoonotic diseases and use of PPE.

Members of the team in Fort Hare Members of the team in Fort Hare

Members of the team conducting education on microorganisms and determined the knowledge, attitude and practices of abattoir workers on zoonotic diseases caused by microorganisms.

- Author Prof Henriette van Heerden
Published by Linda Poggenpoel

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