Crop Biotech Update

Kenyan Public Health Officers Trained on Communicating Biosafety

October 3, 2012

In partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute Programme for Biosafety Systems (PBS), ISAAA AfriCenter recently trained 20 Public Health Officers stationed in various regions in Kenya about biosafety issues. The training which took place on 20-21 September in Nairobi aimed to equip health officers with the knowledge and skills for effectively communicating biosafety issues and the regulatory framework for GMOs in Kenya. The Public Health Officers were also sensitized on safety assessment of GM crops under development in Africa and on the regional and national trends in the adoption of the technology. They were also introduced to the legal and institutional frameworks for regulation, coordination and decision-making on GMOs in Kenya.

Kenya's Public Health Officers are the government's principal officers in charge of implementing the country's public health and sanitation policy, food quality and hygiene, health education as well as community health services at various levels of jurisdiction. Ensuring they are well equipped with factual information on the safety of GM foods/products is therefore quite crucial as Kenya heads to commercializing its first GM product - Bt cotton by 2014. Kenya also allows various GM foods and products on transit to various other African countries. Participants promised to play a leading role in demystifying biosafety concerns and cascading of accurate information to the general public.

For more information, contact Robert M. Kilonzo of the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation in Kenya, at rmkilonzo@yahoo.co.uk.