Media Organs in Cameroon Called to Raise Awareness on Trans-fatty Acids
By Nadege Ngeh
The Cameroon Baptist Convention (CBC) Health Services has drilled journalists from across the country on their role in raising awareness and advocacy on Trans-Fatty Acids (TFAs), in a one-day workshop on March 14, 2022, in Yaoundé.
During the session, the journalist from public and private media houses across Cameroon were reminded of the crucial role the media can play in educating Cameroonians on industrially-produced trans-fatty acids.
Emphasis was laid on the urgent need for the media to join the CBC Health Services to advocate for a national policy to regulate the production and consumption of foods containing TFAs in Cameroon; as well as to educate the public on the dangers of TFA)
“Trans-fatty Acids are a type of fat found in fried foods, fast foods, baked food, and stick margarine. They have no nutritional value, but their health effects are devastating. They increase the risk of coronary heart diseases and stroke and are responsible for over half a million deaths every year globally,” explained Dr. Epie Njume, General Supervisor for the NCD Prevention and Control Program of the CBC Health Services.
The World Health Organization has established a road map for eliminating TFAs worldwide, and many countries have put in place regulations to meet this WHO benchmark.
Sadly, while many countries are already aligning to the benchmark and regulating industrially-produced TFAs using legal instruments, Cameroon has not implemented such policies yet. Therefore is a dire need for Cameroon to join the trend, says Dr. Epie
Talking on “Policy Dialogue with Media, The Urgency of a Strong Regulatory Framework in Cameroon.” Dr. Foyeth Eugene, Advocacy Adviser at CBC Health Services expounded on the regulatory options that other countries have adopted to control TFAs and policy options for Cameroon.
According to Dr. Foyeth, the Government of Cameroon could reduce TFA intake by imposing a legislative limit on TFA, mandating labeling, raising awareness in the community, and working with industries on healthy substitutes.
“The first step could be to issue a circular or ministerial decree with relevant stakeholders in advance of advocacy efforts, waiting for the competent authority to promulgate a law regulating industrially-produced trans-fats” he recommended.
At the close of the workshop, participants left with a commitment and mission to raise the consciousness of TFAs in their communities.
“It is my first time hearing about TFA. I know about fats in the body, but trans-fat is a whole new thing, and it is our social responsibility as media practitioners to safeguard the health of our audience,” remarked one of the participants.
The workshop was supported by Resolve To Save Lives.