NCD Prevention and Control Program holds First Project Start-Up Meeting on Developing Policy to Eliminate Trans-Fatty Acids in Cameroon
Trans-Fatty Acids (TFAs) occur naturally in meat and dairy products from ruminants – cattle, sheep, goats and camels but TFAs are also found in cakes, cookies, biscuits, baked and fried foods and pre-packaged snacks, and some cooking oils used at home, in restaurants in street food.
TFAs increase the levels of unhealthy cholesterol in the body which increases the risk of plague (deposits of cholesterol and other substances) formation in blood vessels. These deposits reduce the lumen of blood vessels, thereby reducing the supply of blood and nutrients to vital organs like the brain and the heart. Industrially-produced TFAs are responsible for over half a million deaths globally every year.
It is within this framework that the CBC Health Services’ NCD Prevention and Control Program has set out to improve cardiovascular health in Cameroon through the elimination of TFAs in the food supply. A one-day meeting to this effect held at the Director of Health Services Hall in Bamenda on June 9, 2021, bringing together some leaders of the CBC Health Services with hands-on experience on policy advocacy, to examine and chart the roadmap for this activity.
“This is another opportunity to control risk factors of NCDs and shed light on the activities of the CBC Health Services as a partner to the Government as regards development in Cameroon,” Mr. Abanda Alphonse, Supervisor of the Grants Department said during the meeting. By the end of the meeting, the governance structure and an Advocacy Technical Working Group were set up.
The Project will consist of a research component wherein the level of TFA will be assessed in foods collected from 3 ecological zones: High Guinea Savanna – Adamawa region; Western Highlands -Northwest/West regions and Humid Forest with Monomodal rainfall – Southwest/Littoral/South regions in Cameroon. This will provide evidence for policy advocacy with relevant stakeholders including but not limited to the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Trade and consumer groups.
This package was developed as a tool to support goal, formulated by the WHO, to eliminate TFAs from the global food supply by 2023. Although many countries have successfully protected their citizens by implementing best practice TFA elimination policies, Cameroon has not yet made a commitment and there are no regulations limiting TFAs in the country’s food supply. This project is an important first step to creating policies that will protect Cameroonians from the dangers of TFAs in foods, thanks to support from Resolve To Save Lives.