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The need to educate the food vendors or handlers in some Local Government areas in Lagos State by the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Yaba Lagos on the 5th of May 2022 was a commendable exercise.

The control of diseases can be achieved when the food handlers are made to known that they may serve as hosts or carriers of such infection. Their attitude to hygiene can as well promote the spread of infections.

Preservation was among the likely acts by food handlers can cause havoc to the health of the food consumers.

Therefore, the organization of the Comprehensive Screening of Food Handlers and Consumers in selected Local Government Areas in Lagos State by NIMR was timely and purposeful.

The program was Chaired by  Dr Mobolaji Obadeyi, the Chief Medical Officer, Deloitte & Touche, Nigeria.

She is also a member of Governing Board, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board,

In her own submission, she advised that the things we can do to the society is to treat food well. She advocated for continuous free training for food handlers.

Professor Babatunde Salako, Director General, NIMR, called the attention of the participants to the fact that it has been projected that infectious diseases may surpass its current status if nothing is done to drastically reduce the burden. And since it is known that some infectious diseases are food borne, the need to screen food vendors has become a necessity.

Prof Salako noted that the need to screen and teach the caterers cannot be overemphasized, as they have direct effects on the health of the populace either positively or negatively.

The NIMR D.G disclosed that the research and health advocacy is a constituency project sponsored by the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, National Assembly, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.

The Principal Investigator for the research, Dr Toyosi Raheem, expatiated on the essence of the project, stating that human health is substantially dependent on what we eat and drink. With most Lagosians spending most of their times outside their homes, and majority relying on food hawked at parks, restaurants and canteens, by food handlers, such foods, if not properly handled by caterers could constitute sources of morbidity and mortality.

He disclosed the rationale of the investigation is to screen for bacteriological and parasitological diseases which can be transmitted from food handlers to the consumers of the food through direct contact with food (including fruits and drinks) or cooking utensils.

Concerning the sampling population for the research, he said his team selected a random sample of food handlers from five local government areas in Lagos which are Lagos Mainland, Surulere, Oshodi-Isolo, Ikorodu, and Alimosho. While components of the project, according to him are advocacy; food handlers’ health screening, food quality check, field research work and feedback.

Other presentations made were “Food Handlers as Possible Sources of Food-borne Microbial Pathogens: Rationale for Comprehensive Health Checks for Food handlers.” By Dr David Oladele.

Prof Stella Smith , a Director of Research, NIMR presented a paper on “Storage Facilities and Ready to Eat Food”.

The Director of Central Research Laboratory, NIMR, Dr Bamidele Iwalokun made the audience to know more on “Food Handlers and Frozen-Food as Potential Sources of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

The summary of all the presentations were made in English and Yoruba by Dr Abideen Salako of the Clinical Science Department.


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