The Federal Government is making plans to prosecute users of PolyChlorinated Biphenyl (PCBs), popularly known as transformer oil, in frying “akara” (bean cake), plantain chips, chicken and other food items.
Prof. Babajide Alloy, a Consultant to the Federal Ministry of Environment, made the disclosure yesterday in an interview with newsmen on the sidelines of a workshop in Calabar.
According to him, the consumption of food prepared from the chemical substance will expose the public to cancers of the lungs, heart, kidney and liver diseases.
“For a long time, PCBs was the cooling liquid used in electricity transformers, until the world found out that this oil was toxic ,and is trying to phase it out
“Jail term awaits those caught using PCBs to fry akara, chicken and plantain chips at road side to sell to the public because the oil is toxic and carcinogenic.
“We found out that it is all over the place in Nigeria, dump-sites, and in old National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) compounds,” he said.
Alloy said a survey carried out by the ministry revealed that the oil was currently being used in making food like akara.
The consultant added that the unsuspecting public were being deceived by the likeness of the oil to the commonly used groundnut oil.
“Some food vendors now mix PCBs with groundnut oil to fry akara and sell to the general public.
“Of course, they may not know how hazardous what they are doing is. This exercise is to sensitise policy makers and everyone of this malaise.
“It is important to note that spillage of PCBs is always a danger when equipment is to be transported; it should, therefore, be transported only in sealed containers,” he said.
The workshop was organised for state councils, regulatory bodies, power operators and custom officers on application of PCBs regulations and guidelines for Environmentally Sound Management (ESM) of PCBs.
World Food Day: WHO Tasks Govt On Food Safety Policies
As the United Nations marked the fourth global World Food Safety Day yesterday, the World Health Organisation has called on various governments to evolve policies that will encourage food safety.
In a statement to mark the 20220 World Food Days WHO drew attention on the need to mobilise action to prevent, detect and manage food borne risks and improve human health.
This year’s World Food Safety Day has as its theme, “Safer Food, better Health.”
The body said safe food is essential to human health and well-being and is one of the most critical guarantors for good health.
It listed the benefits of safe food to include improved nutrition and reduced absenteeism in schools and in the workplace.
According to WHO, food borne diseases affect one in 10 people worldwide each year. There are over 200 of these diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers.
The United Nations General Assembly established World Food Safety Day in 2018 to raise awareness on this important issue.
WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) jointly facilitate the observance of World Food Safety Day, in collaboration with member states and other stakeholders.
WHO therefore implored players in the agro sectors to compel policymakers on the need to support measures that would strengthen national food safety systems and ensure they comply with food safety standards, as well as engage in multi-sectoral collaboration at the local, national, regional and global levels.
It insisted that food businesses must comply with international food standards and engage employees, suppliers and other stakeholders to grow and develop a food safety culture.
By: Kevin Nengia
Expert Seeks Improved Awareness On Lupus Disease
A Consultant Rheumatologist, Dr. Hakeem Olaosebikan, has called for improved awareness to reduce the burden of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) disease.
Olaosebikan, who works at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, made the call in an interview with The Tide.
He made the call in commemoration of the World Lupus Day celebrated annually on May 10, with this year’s theme as “Lupus: A Challenge to Resilience.”
Systemic lupus erythematosus or lupus disease is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body system attacks its own tissues and organs.
According to Olaosebikan, lupus can affect people of all nationalities, races, ethnicities, genders and ages.
He said that women of childbearing age were also affected more often than men.
The rheumatologist said that diagnosing lupus was often difficult as its symptoms mimic those of other common ailments.
He noted that the symptoms vary among individuals and could range between mild to severe.
Olaosebikan said that common symptoms included joint pain and swelling, fever, chest pain, hair loss, mouth ulcers, rashes, among others.
According to him, although the cause of the disease is still unclear, it can be due to changes in hormones, genetics, environmental issues, smoking, and vitamin D deficiency.
He said that presently there was no cure for the disease, adding that it was treated with Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, immunosuppressants and hydroxychloroquine, among others.
Olaosebikan said that understanding lupus would assist control its impact and ensure that people with lupus are diagnosed and treated effectively.
He called for improved patient healthcare services and increased research into the causes and cure for lupus to enhance treatment of the disease.
CRSG Targets 900,000 Children For Polio Vaccination
No fewer than 900,000 children between the ages of 0-59 months in Cross River have been targeted for vaccination against poliomyelitis Type 2.
Director-General of Cross River State Primary Healthcare Agency, Dr Janet Ekpenyong, disclosed this shortly after the inauguration of the campaign on Tuesday in Ugep community, Yakurr Local Government Area.
The Tide reports that the inauguration was done by the Paramount Ruler of Yakurr, HRH, Obol Ofem Eteng.
Ekpenyong said that the state was planning to have a 100 per cent coverage of the vaccination
She disclosed that the role of the traditional rulers could never be overemphasised especially in delivering quality and productive healthcare to the citizens.
She employed parents and caregivers to protect the lives of the next generation by granting them the opportunity to get vaccinated within the stipulated time.
She lauded the traditional ruler for always mobilising children within his community for similar exercises, adding that immunisation was a right of a child and the child should not be deprived.
“The state government with support from partner agencies have mapped out strategies to get all children vaccinated, irrespective of weather conditions, topographical challenges as well as other surmountable barriers.
“With the commitment of health workers and strategic leaders like the traditional rulers council, religious leaders, youths and women leaders, the state has remained poliomyelitis-free in spite of panicking figures from some states.
“With the devastating effects of the disease to children within 0-59 months which include economic, psychological and general well-being, there is a need for continuous advocacies and sensitisation in churches, schools and other public gatherings.
“Today, we are officially inaugurating the first round of the outbreak response on poliomyelitis for our children between the ages of 0-59 months because they are the most vulnerable due to their level of immunity,” she said.
The DG noted that due to the outbreak of the type 2 poliomyelitis, the federal and state governments embarked on the quick response to ensure that child mortality rate is lowered.
Speaking earlier, the traditional ruler expressed satisfaction that the exercise of such magnitude was being decentralised to encourage participation and give a sense of belonging to all communities in the state.
He pledged his support towards raising awareness on the outbreak response on poliomyelitis and other health interventions in order to complement the efforts of the state government and health workers.
On his part, the Director of Public Health, State Ministry of Health, Dr Iwara Iwara, reiterated government’s commitment towards eradicating vaccine preventable diseases and encouraging mothers to ensure their children are vaccinated.
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