Ms. Louise Setshwaelo, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Country Representative in Nigeria, has underscored the importance of increased food safety and hygiene in the current fight against the Ebola disease.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja Setshwaelo also stressed the need to intensify vigilance in the handling of bush meat.
She also stressed the need to avoid animal species known to be hosts to the Ebola virus.
“People need to be careful in the way that they are handling the bush meat and also to avoid some of those areas where we know it is possible to get the Ebola virus from.
“We know that some of the fruit birds do habour the Ebola virus and these are some of the things that FAO usually tries to warn people to be careful of.
“People always have to be concerned on the safety and quality of the food.
“Hygiene is one of the very important issues; when we talk about food security we also include safe food and nutritious food.’’
Setshwaelo said that increased consciousness toward food safety was crucial in efforts to ensure that food-borne diseases were avoided.
The FAO country representative urged African leaders to make conscious efforts to improve the health systems in the continent to be able to manage the outbreak of diseases such as the Ebola virus.
She blamed the current spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa, from one country to four, on the weak health systems, describing the situation as unfortunate.
Setshwaelo further called for stronger collaborations among African countries to stop further spread of the virus.
“They can defeat this and be able to control and stop the spread of the virus.
“It really needs collaboration between governments, working together, to ensure that the disease doesn’t go beyond where it has gone at the moment; but also strengthening our health systems to be able to deal with these issues,’’ she added.