Konzo prevention

We know how to prevent Konzo. Help us stop this crippling disease.

Children with konzo in a rural area of Mozambique

There is a crippling disease slowly spreading through central Africa. It's called Konzo and overnight it attacks - mainly young women and children - so that in the morning your legs are irreversibly paralysed.

The cause of this disease is due to the high levels of a poisonous cyanide compound found in cassava, a staple food for over 600 million people. The plant is non-lethal for many, however, when it is all you have to eat, and you are already malnourished, the cyanogens take effect.   

"It affects the poorest of the poor," says Australian National University Emeritus Fellow Dr Howard Bradbury AM who has spent 25 years researching and working with African communities to find a solution.

The good news is that Dr Bradbury's hard work has paid off. He discovered, after years of dedicated research, that by wetting the cassava flour, and leaving it in the sun to dry, the poisonous cyanide compound breaks down into a hydrogen cyanide gas that escapes into the air. Dr Bradbury's discovery is a simple solution to a devastating problem.

The bad news is that without the necessary funds to help Dr Bradbury and his team communicate this life-changing discovery, Konzo will continue to paralyse women and children in Africa. In addition to the ANU research team's communication challenge, half the people in the communities they visit believe the sudden onset of Konzo is due to witchcraft.

There's a challenge ahead, but with your help, we can stop this crippling disease.

Your gift will allow Dr Bradbury and his team to continue to visit African communities to teach the women how to prepare and wet the cassava flour to stop the spread of Konzo.

To make a donation, please click here.

Updated:  17 July 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB