Most Foods Eaten In Lagos Highly Contaminated – Researchers
We have vendors and traders selling food produce in dirty environment, ignorant about the consequences their actions cause to the people and the environment.
This research was borne out of curiosity and creating awareness on food contamination, life expectancy in Nigeria as a whole. We spread out across different markets in our localities so as not to limit our findings to just one particular market, so we could arrive at a proper research findings across markets in Lagos, with the aid of our CAMERA.
The task of telling these stories did not come cheap or easy as there was stiff hostility, oppositions and distrusts from the sellers even after we engaged them prior to taking the pictures. This project opened our eyes to facts which were beyond our purpose, that is, telling stories as it they are particularly for investigative journalism in a specific abattoir we went to.
In the abattoir, we realized that despite the government built a modern butchering and preservation facilities; amongst other supporting amenities, the butchers association and the chairman chose to butcher on the floor, in dirty environment, using dirty water because of the monetary benefits they derived from their corrupt practices, without regards to the health and wellness of the final consumers.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an average Nigerian is expected to live approximately 55.2 years from birth. This life expectancy is the sixth lowest in the world. It is also significantly below the global average of 72 years and Africa’s average of 61.2 years.
A low life expectancy in Nigeria highlights inherent health threatening factors such as stress and a poor standard of living. It also undermines the country’s international reputation and makes us easily vulnerable to any new illnesses.
It is clear that the health sector in Nigeria needs more attention and investment. The increase in government health investments should also be channeled towards tackling diseases, such as tuberculosis, influenza and pneumonia that are the leading causes of death in the country.
For many people, weekend mornings aren’t complete without a trip to the farmers market.
A lot of people assume that because a food is produced locally it’s safer, but that’s not the case at all—it comes down to what kind of food safety practices the vendor uses.
Most Nigerian markets are unhygienicly run. We have vendors and traders selling food produce in dirty environment, ignorant about the consequences their actions cause to the people and the environment.
In another instance, taking Pipeline Market at Isheri Lagos as a case study. Most of the traders care less about keeping their work areas tidy. They sell close to the drainage that has been clogged with refuse, rotten produce and general dirt. Some of the pepper sellers sell close to the refuse dump that never seem to go down but increase everyday. What they don’t know or seem to ignore is the fact that their produce are more exposed to harmful bacteria that causes diseases to the consumers.
In such kind of unkempt environment, Escherichia coli, Shigella dysentriae, Klebsiella pneumonia, Enterococcus faecalis, to mention a few are the bacteria prevalent in the market generally. These bacteria typically lead to diverse infections that contribute to low life expectancy in the nation. For example, Virulent strains of E. coli can cause gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, vomiting, severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea etc
S. dysentriae causes malnutrition, colitis, reactive arthritis etc. Mortality is more prominent with S. dysenteriae type 1. Most cases of shigellosis are in developing countries.
While Klebsiella bacteria outside the hospital is pneumonia, which in form of bronchitis and bronchopneumonia. It has a death rate around 50% even with antimicrobial therapy.
While E. faecalis are found in feces, which can be drained from a soak-away or improper disposal of feces in the market area by rain water, with the contact of food produce with this contaminated water leads to food contamination which causes infections such as bacteriama, endocarditis, meningitis etc. With the level of ignorance to the market people and consumers there are some mitigative measures to prevent the spread of bacteria and reduce food contamination.
In conclusion, the menace of food contamination in markets in relation to life expectancy in the country can be improved upon by a public – private awareness and sensitisation of our markets. The government as well as every stakeholders should create an enabling environment in which food contamination can be eradicated to the barest minimum and life expectancy improved. There should be proper infrastructures, affordable shops, proper disposal of waste, enactment of bills and law enforcement, proper packaging, preservative measures and education on hygiene. With these measures put in place, we can be certain to expect a very high increase in life expectancy in Nigeria.
Always remember Health is wealth.