Every year, the World Health Organization chooses a global public health theme to celebrate its birthday; and this year, governments, manufacturers, retailers and all consumers are being alerted to the significance of food safety. Food-borne diseases kill hundreds of thousands of people annually and each one of these groups of people have a part to play in ensuring that by the time food gets on the plate, it is safe to eat. World Health Day on April 7 is a reminder that it's time to take food safety much more seriously therefore all groups need to collaborate more to improve food safety. Local communities, women’s groups and school children must not be left out, as education on food safety should be an essential part of learning both at home and at school.
Three years ago, I met Idiongho, a special 19 year old living under the most inhumane conditions. He used to have episodes that I and many others thought strange - violent outbursts, banging his head on surfaces, throwing tantrums – and so his mother kept him chained and locked up. The unofficial diagnosis was that he had gone mad but, as a matter of fact Idiongho was just an autistic boy living in an ignorant world. I remember Idiongho today because April 2 is a day made significant globally because it is the World Autism Awareness Day. Fortunately for Idiongho, he was rescued and is being rehabilitated. But today, as I read about the great inroads made in the research of Autism in developed countries, I can’t but think about untold numbers – in Nigeria and Africa as a whole - who suffer in silence, destined to live out their days labeled insane, demon possessed or worse.