World Health Day: Unsafe food responsible for 2million death annually -NMA

World Health Day: Unsafe food responsible for 2million death annually -NMA

From Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna

Kaduna State Chapter, Nigerian Medical Association
yesterday said unsafe food is responsible for 2 million death
annually, for over 200 preventable diseases such as diarrhoeal
diseases and cancers and in Nigeria alone responsible for about
10.2% of all death in children.

This was as it said it was collaborating with the
State Branch of the Association of Public Health Physicians of
Nigeria, APHPN to embark on a farm to plate campaign as part of activities to mark the day with the theme as “Food safety; from farm to plate”.

In a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Dr. Muhammed Sani Ibrahim and Secretary,‎ Dr. Shehu Abdulrahman and made available to journalist in Kaduna, the association said it is unfortunate that no attention was paid to safety of foods.

According to the statement, “As you are very much aware, every year in the month of April, the World Health
Organisation sets aside April 7 as the World Health Day in order to
draw the attention of the world to one issue of global public
health priority.

“The problem of food safety is of utmost
importance because unsafe food is responsible for over 200
preventable diseases such as diarrhoeal diseases and cancers,
killing an estimated 2 million people annualy, including many
children. In Nigeria, diarrhoeal diseases alone are responsible for about 10.2% of all death in children. In addition, unsafe food
borne diseases may lead to long-lasting disability. Examples of
unsafe food include uncooked food of animal origin, fruits and
vegetables that are contaminated with faeces.

“The Kaduna State Branch of NMA, and the
State Branch of the APHPN commenced the activities of this year by
jointly holding phone-in radio programmes on the theme in English
and Hausa languages.

“It is disturbing that no special
consideration is given to the issue of food safety. Thus, the aim
of our campaign is to spur Government to improve food safety by
making it a priority, by integrating it into broader food policies,
and by building solid food system through a multi-sectoral
collaboration that brings together the agricultural, health, trade
and tourism sectors. For example, we are calling on the government
to make it mandatory for manufacturers of all food items to use
labels that indicate the exact content of the food. This is because
many manufacturers still make use of prohibited substances such as
potassium bromate (sometimes used to make bread more attractive)
and other food additives (such as preservatives, coloring agents,
artificial sweeteners, artificial flavours) which are responsible
for many diseases including cancers.

“We also hope to use this opportunity to
provide practical guidance to the members of the public on the need
to ensure that they maintain strict hygienic practices at all
times, separate raw from cooked food, cook food thoroughly before
consumption, keep food at safe storage temperatures and use only
clean water and raw materials for food preparation. In addition,
because most members of the public do not take the time to gather
adequate knowledge about the food that they consume, it is
important that every member of the public should be encouraged to
always read labels of food items before consumption and be familiar
with harmful food substances around them. For example, some
varieties of cassava contain high amount of cyanide and so must be
properly prepared and well cooked to avoid the risk of cyanide

“Already, the Kaduna State NMA and APHPN has
concluded arrangements to participate in several more radio and
televion programmes within this week. It is our sincere hope that
messages from this programmes will not only lead to a substantial
reduction in the frequency of food borne diseases, but it will also
translate into a healthier country for all Nigerians,” the
statement reads.


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