The Covid19 pandemic has led to a surge in demand for Agricultural Products in Uganda. Yet while the whole nation is in panic about the spread of Covid19, food expert, David Kiyemba, the Director of Hello Fresh, believes that food borne diseases should also be paid attention to.
During a sensitization session about food safety that was conducted by Hello Fresh (an online fresh produce delivery application) at Nakasero Market recently, Kiyemba cited a survey by the World Health Organization on the global burden of foodborne diseases.
“600 million or almost 1 in 10 people in the world fall ill every year because of eating contaminated food. Foodborne diseases can also be fatal, causing an estimated 420, 000 deaths per year. According to World Health Organization, the African Region has the highest burden of foodborne diseases per population and the highest death rate with more than 91 million people living in the African Region falling ill each year from foodborne diseases, resulting in 137, 000 annual deaths, a third of the global death toll. These figures can be reduced or better yet, removed entirely. But to do that; you, the farmers and the market vendors need to work together to practice hygiene and safe handling of food,” Kiyemba stated.
Kiyemba said that the sensitization was a Corporate Social Responsibility campaign by Hello Fresh directed at sensitizing everyone in the food chain of production to practice food safety. He said that he realized the need to sensitize farmers and vendors after many house hold food and hygienic surveys indicated serious gaps in knowledge about food handling.
“We decided to start with farmers and market vendors because we work directly with them, but pertinently, because they’re the most involved parties in the food safety. Many people in restaurants, homes, markets, hotels, among other places, have failed to adopt appropriate hand washing techniques before food preparation and before eating. People should learn to forexample, wash fresh fruit and salad vegetables with clean, safe water before use; clean, wash and dry utensils for food preparation and cooking; and employ proper washing of cooking and eating utensils using soap after use,” he reiterated to an audience of farmers and fresh grocery vendors that had convened for the workshop at Nakasero Market.
David Kiyemba there after stated during an interview, that he intends for the campaign to reach the general population as well, but is only being limited by the Covid19 lockdown. The team of Hello Fresh later handed out Aprons and Gloves to aid the safe handling of food.