ACF Democratic Republic of Congo: Impact of Cross-Sectoral Approach to Addressing Konzo in DRC

Households in Bandundu Province, DRC rely primarily on agriculture for food; cultivating cassava as the main crop and have limited dietary diversity. Due to the presence of cyanide in cassava, a poisonous chemical in unprocessed cassava, the retting process to leach out cyanide prior to consumption is essential. Improperly processed cassava causes konzo, a neurological ailment triggered by sustained dietary exposure to cyanide. Since local knowledge of the food-related origins of the disease is limited, local beliefs and traditional customs were found to be the main drivers of the high incidence of the disease.

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