“Sugar now is more dangerous than gunpowder”, said Githinji Gitahi, CEO, of the Nairobi-based NGO Amref Health Africa. “More people are dying of sugar than from terrorism and violence.”
And government-imposed lockdowns, as well as widespread border closures, have had ‘far-reaching’ impacts on food systems that were already frail in Africa.
Fostering food resilience – legislation & data are critical
The world has the tools to foster food system resilience for better health, said Gitahi. However, we need to use them “now” to build back better from the pandemic.
Carefully-crafted policy is one of the answers, as it nudges people to eat healthier food while shooing them away from toxic foods that are high in sugar, salt or unhealthy trans fats:
“We must bring legislation and regulation to the table, and civil society must force governments to improve regulation of unhealthy foods,” said Gitahi, “Countries need to regulate sugar imports and regulate unhealthy fats; the time to do this is now.”
Also clear, disaggregated data is vital to identify groups that are suffering the most from poor access to food, or a lack of nutritious foods. Gitahi:
”Who do you give aid to if you don’t know who’s vulnerable? Data is extremely critical.”