Tuesday, July 23, 2024
NewsFoodborne diseases cost Ethiopia USD 723 million annually, study

Foodborne diseases cost Ethiopia USD 723 million annually, study

A new study focusing on foodborne diseases has shed light on the profound impact they have on both the health of the Ethiopian population and the nation’s economy. Startling findings from a new research indicate that Ethiopia suffers an annual loss of at least USD 723 million to these illnesses.

The study, conducted by six projects dedicated to food safety, was unveiled on October 27, at the Ethiopian headquarters of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Supported by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UKAID, the research was a collaborative effort between ILRI, Ohio State University, University of Florida, Addis Ababa University, and the Technical University of Denmark.

The study examined the prevalence and impact of three key foodborne germs in dairy products, meat, and vegetables. The results revealed that these diseases account for nearly one percent of Ethiopia’s gross domestic product (GDP) through the loss of productivity and the incalculable toll of death, pain, and suffering.

In particular, contaminated beef was found to be a significant culprit, responsible for the deaths of approximately 190 people and causing sickness in 400,000 individuals annually due to two types of germs: campylobacter and non-typhoidal salmonella.

Furthermore, dairy product contaminations were linked to 200 deaths and half a million illnesses.

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According to ILRI, “chicken imposes an even greater burden accounting for a staggering 1.8 million cases of illness and 850 deaths occurring each year.”

Vegetables, too, have their share of blame, causing 400,000 cases of illness and 330 deaths annually due to non-typhoidal salmonella and enterotoxigenic bacteria, information from the ILRI states.

The study identified twelve foodborne germs and viruses as “the most significant threats to public health,” considering the number of fatalities they cause. Unfortunately, the research also exposed critical knowledge gaps and a lack of research priorities in the area of food safety.

To tackle this urgent issue, the study recommends increased investment from both the public and private sectors, emphasizing the need to raise awareness among consumers and improving the quality of food.

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