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DoSH-SW on Monitoring and Inspecting Food Exercise

Feb 17, 2009, 5:31 AM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

In a bid to further strengthen and improve food safety and hygiene in The Gambia, the Health and Education Unit, in collaboration with the Food Hygiene and Safety Unit of the Department of State for Health and Social Welfare on Thursday 12thof February embarked on a joint inspection and monitoring exercise of food premises and food handlers in Barra and Essau in the Lower Nuimi District.

The exercise is meant to deliver first hand information about food safety and hygiene and sensitize food sellers and handlers.

Briefing journalists shortly after the exercise, Mr. Amadou Sowe, programme manager of the Health and Education Unit, revealed that anything without health is nothing adding that many people have been talking about health and the environment they operate in but little has been done.

For Mr. Sowe, there cannot be healthy people without a healthy environment adding that they are calling for high food-safety standards in The Gambia.

According to Mr. Sowe, the food people consumeshould be free from disease and the environment clean at all times.

The programme manager however noted that in order to attain this noble cause all hands should be on deck. He further called on the Area Council Community Health Team as well as the community to work together as partners.

He asserted that a lot of complaints were received from vendors at Barra car park regarding the problem of clean water in the garage. They say the toilet has also contributed a lot to the unhygienic situation in the area.

Mr. Sowe finally thanked the media for also playing their role in health related issues.

For his part, Mamadou Lamin Nget, programme manager Food Hygiene and Safety Unit DoSH, dilated on the importance his unit attaches to food hygiene and safety, adding that 50% of diseases are basically caused by environment related diseases.

Mr. Nget underscored that the environment food is prepared and transported in should be clean and tidy at all times. He called for massive community partnership to boost and improve food safety and hygiene as well as the health situation of the people.

Mr. Nget therefore urged the both health workers and the community to help and change the attitude as far as food hygiene, inspection, and monitoring is concerned. He however put emphasis on the role of health workers in the area to collaborate as partners in addressing food hygiene and the environment they are living in.

He observed that his unit wants to totally reduce food borne diseases in The Gambia.

Also speaking to reporters, Mr. Adam Cham, chef de garage, noted that the garage at the present moment is facing a lack of clean water especially in the toilet. He added that they normally charge individuals using the toilet D1. According to him, the money collected is used for cleaning, maintenance and the payment of a toilet attendant.

According to chef de garage, complaints were logged to the Kerewan Area Council to remedy the situation but nothing has been done yet.

When contacted about the allegations made by garage authorities and food vendors, Mr. Lamin Jammeh, the sub-treasurer officer at the sub-treasury office of Kerewan Area Council at Barra car park, refuted those allegations saying that toilets in the car park are built by KAC and managed by the car park authorities. He said the council is aware of constraints but was quick to point that the council is doing everything possible to remedy situation in the car park like the bringing clean water. Mr. Jammeh challenged the food vendors for refusing to use the market properly but rather exposing their food in unhygienic conditions at the car park.

Interviews were also conducted to hear the version of food and vegetable vendors. Neneh Barry, Bana Bonjang, and Ismail Muhammad all dilated on the problem of clean water but all agreed to maintain food safety and hygiene.

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