Widespread Alarm as Nigeria Reports Annual Toll of Over 200,000 Deaths Due to Food Poisoning

Written by Benjamin Adewumi

Over 200,000 Nigerians lose their lives to food poisoning each year, a shocking revelation made at the Gender and Inclusion Summit 2023 (GS-23) held in Abuja. Stakeholders, including social media influencer Osenega Orokpo and representatives from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), highlighted the urgent need to address unsafe food preparation and preservation practices.

Harmful practices such as using dangerous chemicals like sniper for storage, carbide for ripening fruits, and injecting poultry with hormones were identified as major contributors to the food poisoning crisis. The summit emphasized the need for resilient food systems, safety precautions, and women’s inclusion in the food value chain.

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Advocacy, training, and awareness were suggested as proactive interventions to address the food poisoning challenge. NAFDAC’s recent campaign against drug hawking and ripening fruits with harmful chemicals like calcium carbide was highlighted as a step in the right direction.

Stakeholders stressed the importance of education, awareness, and proper environmental management to prevent food poisoning. Dr. Uche Okenyi of Hova’s Place Hospital called for increased investment in healthcare to equip facilities to manage food poisoning cases effectively.

The need for competent regulatory bodies and government intervention to ensure food safety and prevent unnecessary deaths due to food poisoning was emphasized. The alarming figures underscored the urgency to address unsafe food practices and promote proper hygiene and awareness in the food value chain.

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