By Agbonkhese Oboh
The Federal Government has reinstated her commitment towards a trans fat-free Nigeria by speeding up the gazette of the oil and fats regulations.
The Minister of State for Health, Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, disclosed this in Abuja during the advocacy visit by the #Transfatfree Nigeria coalition.
Mamora assured that the ministry looks forward to collaborating with the campaign on implementation and enforcement of the trans fatty acids regulation and capacity building for the National Food Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, towards improved testing.
Mamora, who committed to following up on the draft regulation, said: “It’s not just finding out the cause of the delay in the passage of the TFA regulation but to move it forward.
“This is about the health of all Nigerians.”
Additionally, he stressed the need to have preventive measures, given the number of oils sold in the open market, so as not to place additional burden on an already stretched health sector.
The Fats and Oil Regulations 2019, when passed into law, will limit trans-fat to 2g per 100g of total fat in all fats, oils and foods.
The Minister of State for Health, while appreciating the efforts and work of the #Transfatfree Nigeria campaign, said it is geared towards ensuring that the National Health Security is assured.
He urged the campaign not to restrict their work to the national level, but to consider looking into our local foods that may be unhealthy.
While giving an overview of the #TransfatfreeNigeria campaign thus far, the Project Adviser for TFA Elimination, Network for Health Equity and Development, NHED, Dr. Jerome Mafeni, said the campaign has been engaging with NAFDAC, but the finalisation and gazetting of the regulations have experienced significant delays.
Dr. Mafeni requested the intervention of the Minister towards expediting the passage of the regulations.
The Country Head, Network for Health Equity and Development, NHED, Dr. Emmanuel Sokpo, similarly expressed concern around the morbidities associated with cardiovascular diseases from the covid-19 infections pandemic.
Earlier, the Nigeria In-Country Coordinator Cardiovascular Health Programme, Global Health Advocacy Incubator Joy Amafah, restated the urgency in the passage of the TFA regulation.
Amafah highlighted that countries that started the process after Nigeria have passed their regulations into law.
Amafah said: “This process started in 2019 and the campaign is advocating to the Minister to use his good offices to advance the quick finalisation of the regulations.
“There may be other stakeholders who are looking forward to engaging and investing in Nigeria on post-gazetting activities.
“But they have put a pause on their plans given the delays in finalising the regulation and passing it into law.”
The Nutrition Policy Advisor Resolve to Save Lives, Nigeria, RTSL, Dr. Maryam Al-Mansur, expressed the need to address the issues of trans fatty acids in Nigeria to reduce comorbidities of cardiovascular diseases caused by covid.
She highlighted other countries such as China, India, the Philippines, etc. who have passed the regulations into law.
The Executive Director of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, expressed the readiness of the coalition to collaborate with NAFDAC and the Ministry for effective implementation of the Regulations, when passed.
He also stressed that the regulations should follow the WHO REPLACE package.
The REPLACE package is a global document and pathway to ensure that countries are free from the dangers of trans-fat.