Friday May 24, 2019

Are you eating right? 10 interesting facts on food safety highlighted by WHO

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In coming times, the great majority of people will experience a food or water borne disease at some point in their lives. This highlights the importance of making sure the food we eat is not contaminated with potentially harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, toxins and chemicals.

Here are ten interesting facts on food safety

1. Millions of people fall ill every year and many die as a result of eating unsafe food. Diarrheal diseases alone kill an estimated 1.5 million children annually, and most of these illnesses are due to contaminated drinking water.
2. Food contaminated with heavy metals or with naturally occurring toxins can also cause long-term health problems including cancer and neurological disorders.
3.  For infants, pregnant women, the sick and the elderly, the consequences of foodborne disease are usually more severe and may be fatal.
4, Today’s food supply is complex and involves a range of different stages before the food reaches the consumers. There are numerous stages at which contamination can take place.
5. Globalization of food production and trade has many stages in which it is packed and then transported to various places. This is such a complex process which prevents from finding the culprit of foodborne disease.
6. Different governmental departments and agencies,  need to collaborate and communicate with each other and engage with the civil society including consumer groups.
7. Food contamination is not just harmful to health but also to – it undermines food exports, tourism, livelihoods of food handlers and economic development, both in developed and developing countries.
8. Overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in agriculture and animal husbandry, in addition to human clinical uses, is one of the factors leading to the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.
9.   Achieving food safety is a multi-sectoral effort requiring expertise from a range of different disciplines – toxicology, microbiology, parasitology, nutrition, health economics, and human and veterinary medicine.
10.People should make informed and wise food choices. They should know common food hazards and how to handle food safely, using the information provided in food labelling.

(Content: WHO)

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    Making note! Diet is the most essential part for healthy life, helpful article.

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WHO to Strengthen Strategies to Combat Ebola Epidemic in Congo

The WHO's latest report counted 1,738 cases of Ebola in Congo, including 1,218 deaths

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FILE - A priest watches as health workers dressed in Ebola protective suits prepare the body of an Ebola patient for burial at the Ebola treatment center in Butembo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, March 26, 2019. VOA

A panel of World Health Organization experts says strategies must be strengthened to combat the worsening Ebola epidemic in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The WHO’s latest report counted 1,738 cases of Ebola in Congo, including 1,218 deaths.

Congo’s minister of health, Oly Ilungo, likened the Ebola epidemic to a multi-headed dragon. Speaking through an interpreter, he said the epidemic began in one place, Mangina, but keeps popping up elsewhere.

“Our response, therefore, needs to continually adapt itself to the situation,” said Ilungo. “We need to continually adapt and change our strategy bearing in mind lessons learned.”

He said prevention measures, surveillance, the tracing of infected people, timely treatment and safe burial practices must be maintained. At the same time, he said old tools need to be refreshed and improved.

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FILE – Victorine Siherya, an Ebola survivor working as a caregiver to babies who are confirmed Ebola cases, holds an infant outside the red zone at the Ebola treatment center in Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo, March 25, 2019. VOA

He proposed setting up a data-driven system, which compiles all the information produced in the response effort.

“Increasingly, it manages to carry out analyses that allow us to get ahead of the problem and we can identify the danger areas where there might be a greater risk of the virus spreading and we can get ahead of the problem,” he added.

The WHO regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, finds the increasing number of new Ebola cases extremely worrying and challenging. She warned the risk of the disease spreading beyond Congo’s borders is very high.

She said the DRC’s nine neighboring countries are aware of the dangers and, with the help of the WHO, have taken many steps to prepare for that possibility.

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An Ebola health worker is seen at a treatment center in Beni, Eastern Congo, April, 16, 2019. The World Health Organization is warning it may not be possible to contain Ebola to the two affected provinces in eastern Congo if violent attacks on health teams continue. VOA

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“We have 16 Ebola-treatment centers and units having been established across the nine countries,” she said. “And, in addition over 4,500 health workers have been trained to be able to detect and manage these cases.The countries have continued to engage with communities to raise their awareness in all high-risk areas.”

WHO officials are appealing for intensified international political engagement and financial support to combat Ebola. They warn the further spread of the dangerous disease would have serious social and economic regional implications and would trigger an even greater crisis. (VOA)