Enugu State Government on Saturday urged journalists and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to sustain current advocacy against Trans-Fatty Acids (TFAs) to check rising cardiovascular diseases.
The charge was made in Enugu by the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ikechukwu Obi.
He was addressing a journalism training session on Trans-Fat Reporting organised by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), a CSO.
Trans-Fatty Acids also called trans-unsaturated fatty acids is a type of unsaturated fat that naturally occurs in small amounts in meat and milk fat.
Trans-Fats are made when food makers turn liquid oils into solid fats like shortening or margarine.
They can be found in many fried, “fast’’ packaged or processed foods, including anything fried and battered.
They can also be found in stick margarine, cakes, cake mixes, pies, pie crust, and doughnuts.
Animal foods such as red meats and dairy have small amounts of Trans-Fats, but most Trans-Fats come from processed foods.
Obi noted that journalists were critical stakeholders in health education and awareness, and charged them to ensure they get correct, factual and understandable health information that would benefit the public.
He said journalists should not allow medical professionals to dazzle them with health terminologies, but to always ask the medical professionals to break down their technical jargons for easy comprehension.
“Journalists should try as much as possible to simplify medical terms for clear understanding by the layman.
“Accurate information passed in an easily understandable language will ensure that misconceptions and misinterpretation are checked in health reporting,’’ he said.
The commissioner said also that Nigerians have to be mindful of what they eat and check fatty and oily intakes to stem the tide of cardiovascular diseases.
Obi lauded NAFDAC for producing a draft regulation to check the use and consumption industrial TFAs.
He assured journalists and other stakeholders in the fight against TFAs of government’s collaboration to ensure that “we conquer, as we have done in Ebola, Polio and other diseases’’.
He said that the state was committed to working with NAFDAC, CAPPA and others in safe-guarding the health of all Nigerians.
Earlier, Executive Director of CAPPA, Mr Olufemi Akinbode, said the workshop was meant to x-ray the dangers of TFAs.
He said it was also organised to equip journalists with the necessary knowledge and stakeholders’ contacts that would help to enrich their reportage.
He said CAPPA desired media advocacy and awareness to influence policy makers and government regulators on making laws and health regulations to check the use of industrial TFAs.
“Journalists are expected to use their reportage to create awareness on the dangers of TFAs so as to achieve appreciable reduction in their use and ensure that people remained healthy,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Dr Jerome Mafeni, Technical Director on TFAs at the Network for Health Equity and Development, lauded CAPPA and its partners for sustaining advocacy against TFAs.
The two-day workshop is being attended by 18 journalists drawn from the Southeast states. (NAN)
Source: Prompt News Online