By Austin Edoho
The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (N.V.M.A) recently embarked on Meat Hygiene Campaign in Ikeja, Lagos state.The one day campaign was aimed at educating the masses on the dangers of buying meat that was not hygienically processed or preserved. Speaking at the occasion, the General Secretary of NVMA Lagos chapter, Dr. Noble Igbokwe stated that so many diseases are being transmitted through unhygienic processing of meat and meat products. In his words, “a lot of diseases afflicting Nigerians today are caused by the meat they eat. Go to the markets and see the way meat is being displayed on tables and trays. You notice that flies perch on the meat, and other organisms find their way to the meat. Yet the unsuspecting buyer will purchase it, take it home, and consume it. When he/she later falls ill, the doctor or pharmacists will tell him/her that it is malaria. No, it is not malaria. It is one of the meat-borne diseases”.
Speaking further, Dr. Igbokwe enumerated the various diseases found in meat and meat products. He said, “Typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis, enteric fever, tapeworm, brucellosis, and many others are present in contaminated meat, eggs, and water, which is why we are striving hard to educate the masses on the health hazards associated with consuming contaminated meat”.
In the same vein, the Treasurer of NVMA, Dr. Olaniyan Ibukun reiterated that people really need to protect themselves from some avoidable diseases. According to her,”some people actually do know that what the meat sellers do is very unhygienic, but they still prefer buying from them because to them, it is cheaper buying from them than buying from the big shops. But when you compare the price difference, you will realize that it is not much. Why would you buy meat that has been exposed to sun and dust and flies and you expect to be healthy? no way!” She observed that some meat being sold in the market is not fresh, and should not be eaten. She advised consumers to ensure they buy meat from meat shops where the meat is properly and hygienically handled, preserved, and packaged. She noted that most meat sellers have an unhealthy habit of soaking meat in water overnight, and when the buyer sees the meat, he/she will think it is fresh meat.
When asked if they are aware of the financial and economic implication on the meat sellers if people stopped patronizing them, Dr. Igbokwe stated that he was aware of that. He also said that the aim of the campaign is to make the meat sellers themselves change the way they display their product to the public. He also stated that if people stopped buying their dirty and unhygienic meat, then maybe they will have a rethink and start covering the meat they sell. He also said a lot of them use dirty hands to handle meat, which is not supposed to be so.
On the team also was Dr. Yemi Iledare, who called on the public to safeguard their health and refuse to be the next victim of meat-borne diseases by demanding for their meat in a proper and hygienic way.
NVMA Organizes Meat Hygiene Campaign 2017 In Lagos
By Austin Edoho