Ehizogie Ohiani, a Producer/Trainer for BBC Media Action in Nigeria, discusses how radio is raising awareness about the lack of hygiene amongst the butchers of Benue State, Nigeria.
A meal without meat is as good as no meal for most people in Benue State, North Central Nigeria. Considering its importance, one would expect that hygiene surrounding the preparation and sale of meat would be held in the same high esteem. This is not the case.
A murky mix of flies, blood, water, muddy walkways, sweaty bodies and smoke combine to make the abattoirs in the marketplaces of Benue State a perfect breeding ground for disease. Lack of adequate sanitation knowledge, lack of enforcement by market associations and insufficient supervision of animal slaughter by qualified veterinary officers conspire to create major health challenges for communities.
I was at Harvest FM, a local radio station in Benue State, to train producers. We were brainstorming ways we could use their popular early morning show “Good Morning Benue” to help serve the public interest. For the producers, an obvious choice was to discuss hygiene in abattoirs.
The programme explored a number of problems in the state’s local abattoirs: an absence of toilet and handwashing facilities and the practice of washing meat with untreated water sourced direct from the River Benue.
We've all been there... it's lunch time, we're hungry, we don't have much time to wait, don't want to spend too much money, but want to make healthy choices. So, what are our options? Well, on a recent mission in the Caribbean the choices were fried chicken or stew with fried chicken, not many other choices.
We felt guilty because we were the health team on mission in the Caribbean conducting studies on the impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and we are extremely conscious that fried chicken contains a lot of saturated fat --a contributing factor in obesity, heart disease and diabetes, which top the list of NCDs.
We ended up swallowing our guilt and snacking on the crispy morsels of chicken anyway.