NCDs are rooted in chemicals growing food-CEO

DAR ES SALAAM: Tanzania Relief Initiatives (TRI) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Advocate Edwin Mugambila has disclosed that one of the biggest risks factors in contracting the non-communicable diseases is rooted in unhealthy diet that is sourced from food fed by chemicals like pesticides in their growth.

Speaking during a round table discussion held in Dar es Salaam on Thursday attended by various experts in the country, the CEO said that they have decided to commemorate the World Health Month by educating the society on the magnitude of the NCDs, causes as well as coming up with proposed solutions.

Additionally, he said that apart from the discussion they expect to come up with strategies to advise policy and law makers on how the ailments can be tackled by first creating awareness and safety in the public.

According to Advocate Mugambila they are much concerned with the wellbeing of citizens, adding that the issue of health is a human rights first agenda.

He added: “We have been meeting at various forums and talk about excessive use of sugar, salt, excess oil, alcohol, tobacco as stimulants to Non-Communicable Diseases, but still there is one big problem that scientists in this room in our previous research have discovered- that there is a problem bigger than sugar in the area of nutrition and that is chemicals from pesticides in modern agriculture.

“You may say that, I don’t take sugar, oil, salt, but you will go to the store or the market and buy tomatoes that have been grown with very bad chemicals, you will go to the supermarket and purchase carrots, onions, spinach and cook and eat, that is more harmful than the sugar you have avoided.”

Stressing on the importance and need to control the quantity of chemicals from pesticides in agriculture for a safer generation, Mr Mugambila said that 13.2 per cent of deaths in Tanzania result from non-communicable diseases.

Moreover, according to the CEO the government spends over 99bn/- annually to treat non-communicable diseases.

On her part, Tanzania NCD Alliance Project Manager, Happy Nchimbi said as their discussion aims at shedding light on how pesticides are related to NCDs, from their findings they will inform the society especially users on what quantity is required to keep the consumers safe.

“Because even the information we found in other countries shows that pesticides are not a problem but the problem comes in the use. So, together we have come to join hands with other stakeholders to know the issue of pesticides in order to protect the people from getting further into these epidemic diseases, to see if we Tanzanians can prevent it early,” Ms Happy said.

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