Food safety and health: A strategy for the WHO African Region
AbstractThe burden of foodborne diseases in the African Region is difficult to surmise, but available data for diarrhoea due to contaminated food and water estimate mortality to be around 700 000 persons per year in all ages. African children suffer an estimated five episodes of diarrhoea per child per year, mostly due to contaminated infant food. Microbial and chemical contaminants are of concern. Unless these issues are addressed, countries will have difficulty in achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals. 2. Despite efforts by governments and both multilateral and bilateral agencies, weaknesses remain in national food control systems. Absence of enforceable policies, regulatory mechanisms, resources and coordination in addressing challenges may be the cause. Assuring food safety is a shared responsibility that requires the common vision of all stakeholders. 3. This strategy will assist countries to define their food safety challenges and design national action plans with specific interventions for effective outcomes. The guiding principles of the strategy include country ownership and leadership; holistic and risk-based actions; intersectoral cooperation and collaboration; community participation; strengthened health systems; individual responsibility; and participation of women and communities. Priority interventions include formulation and implementation of policies and regulations; capacity building in foodborne disease surveillance and inspection; and health education. Particular attention must be given to ensure food safety in school feeding programmes.
Regional Committee for Africa, 57. (2011). Food safety and health: A strategy for the WHO African Region. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/1817