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EU suspends food aid in Somalia after UN finds widespread theft

The European Union executive has temporarily suspended funding for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Somalia, two senior EU officials told Reuters on Monday, after a U.N. investigation found widespread theft and misuse of aid meant to avert famine.

The European Commission gave more than $7 million in aid to the WFP’s operations in Somalia last year, a fraction of the donations of more than $1 billion it received, U.N. data shows EU member states gave much more money on a bilateral basis. It was not immediately clear whether any would also suspend aid.

Balazs Ujvari, a spokesman for the European Commission, neither confirmed nor denied specifically a temporary suspension but said: “So far, the EU has not been informed by its U.N. partners of a financial impact on EU-funded projects.

“Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor the situation and abide by our zero-tolerance approach to fraud, corruption or misconduct.”
The WFP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

One senior EU official said the decision was taken after the U.N. investigation concluded that landowners, local authorities, members of the security forces and humanitarian workers were all involved in stealing aid intended for vulnerable people.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the aid would be restored after the WFP met additional conditions, such as vetting of partners on the ground in Somalia. The second senior EU official confirmed that.

A third source, also an EU official, said the Commission was “cooperating actively with WFP to resolve systemic defects” but said no aid was suspended at this stage.

The July 7 report, marked “strictly confidential,” was commissioned by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, according to a copy reviewed by Reuters.

Its contents were first published on Monday by Devex, a media outlet focused on international development.

It cited internally displaced persons (IDPs) as saying they were coerced into paying up to half of the cash assistance they received to people in positions of power in the face of threats of eviction, arrest or de-registration from beneficiary lists.

Three months ago the WFP and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) suspended food aid to neighboring Ethiopia in response to the widespread diversion of donations.

The European Commission contributes 10 million euros ($10.69 million) to Somalia and Ethiopia via the WFP, with the suspension covering part of that, according to one of the senior EU officials.

The United States is by far Somalia’s biggest humanitarian donor. Last year, it contributed more than half of the $2.2 billion of funding that went to the humanitarian response there.

USAID spokesperson Jessica Jennings said in a statement the United States was working to understand the extent of the diversion and was “already taking steps to protect beneficiaries and ensure taxpayer money is used to benefit vulnerable persons in Somalia, as intended.”

An official of the agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the situations in Ethiopia and Somalia were different and USAID was not planning to pause food assistance in the latter.

A U.S. Congressional source said the decision to suspend aid in Ethiopia was, in part, related to the uniquely hands-on role of the federal government there in distributing food assistance, which has long made donors uneasy.

“The widespread theft of food assistance in Ethiopia was abhorrent, but was also an opportunity to change the way it is provided,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Somali Disaster Management Office, which coordinates the government’s humanitarian response, said in a statement on Monday that Somali authorities were committed to investigating the U.N. report’s findings, while adding that current aid delivery systems operate “outside of the government channels”.

Guterres’ office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Donors boosted funding to Somalia last year as humanitarian officials warned of a looming famine due to the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in decades.

Famine was averted, official data shows, but as many as 43,000 people, half of them children younger than five, died last year as a result of the drought, researchers estimate.

The U.N. report did not attempt to quantify the amount of aid diverted but said its findings “suggest that post-delivery aid diversion in Somalia is widespread and systemic”.

Investigators found aid diversion at all of the 55 IDP sites in Somalia from which they collected data, the report said. Some 3.8 million people are displaced in Somalia – one of the highest rates in the world.

Aid distribution has been a problem in Somalia for decades, complicated by weak government institutions, widespread insecurity stemming from an Islamist insurgency and marginalization of minority clans.

Since revelations of aid theft during a 2011 famine, humanitarian agencies have converted most of their assistance to cash-based transfers that some officials have presented as less vulnerable to corruption.

The U.N. report was the latest evidence that cash-based systems can be exploited too. It identified a variety of perpetrators, led by so-called “gatekeepers,” powerful individuals from dominant local clans.

These gatekeepers leverage their influence over access to camp sites and food beneficiary lists to coerce payments from IDPs, the report said.

Members of security forces also play a role by intimidating and sometimes arresting those who refuse to pay, while some humanitarian workers collude with gatekeepers to pocket stolen funds, the report said.

While famine has been averted for now, the report warned that inadequate humanitarian funding could imperil fragile progress.

Aid budgets are under strain globally, with just 36% funded to date of the $2.6 billion the U.N. says is needed this year for Somalia’s humanitarian response.

($1=0.9355 euros)

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Health: “My aim is to help everyone live a sickness/disease free life through nutrition and diet counseling” – IJILADE

The role of a dietitian is to provide expert advice on nutrition, diet, and healthy eating habits. Dietitians are trained professionals who possess knowledge in the field of food and nutrition science. They work with individuals, groups, and communities to promote good health through proper nutrition.

Aroloye Ijilade Emmanuel is a dietitian and a graduate of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Ibadan, He is almost on the verge of rounding up his one-year internship program at the University College Hospital, Ibadan. He’s a rare kind who passionately advocates for cultural awareness and mental health in nutrition and dietetics through assessment and counseling.  He assesses the nutritional needs of individuals or groups by analyzing their dietary habits, health conditions, and medical history to develop personalized nutrition plans.

The Ondo State-born indigene is an online explorer (Kdp Amazon Kindle publisher, freelance writer, and business trader. He works in clinical settings and collaborates with healthcare professionals to provide medical nutrition therapy for patients with specific medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and food allergies.

Dr.Ijilade is a passionate ambitious fellow who loves to embrace new opportunities anytime it surfaces. His common slogan in life is “Nothing is impossible for the Possible Mind”.

In this interview with ADEWALE ADENRELE, he shares his expertise in nutrition, the challenges facing the health sector, and the role of digitalization in the health industry.

Below are excerpts: 

  • What made you want to become a Dietitian comparing other areas of specialization?

Well, I can say that my configuration and passion from inception (my childhood age) have always been channeled towards Saving Lives. In my exposure at my first higher educational level (Polytechnic of Ibadan), I was opportune to study Food Science and Technology where I first had a scientific knowledge of how food is being processed from its raw form to its final consumable forms (For instance, Cassava flour being processed into fufu). This exposure further gave me the inner drive to dive into the Field of NUTRITION  at the Premier University, University of Ibadan where I was further grounded on the further functions of Food to man. Meeting the physiological needs of man via proper food intake remains a golden rule in Nutrition. Having fulfilled my Undergraduate requirement and become certified in the Field of Nutrition, I saw a need to cap it up by digging deeper into the World of Dietetics which shows practically speaking how every man needs a good diet in maintaining optimum health alongside good physical activity and exercise. So in summary, my main reason for choosing this field is nothing but “the inherent passion to see everyman live a sickness and disease-free life”.

After The Dietitian's Ward Round at Children Outpatient Clinic(CHOP) in The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan (Shot taken around the CMD arena)
After The Dietitian’s Ward Round at Children Outpatient Clinic(CHOP) in The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan (Shot taken around the CMD arena)
  • Kindly tell us the most challenging and exciting aspects of working in the healthcare industry.

The most challenging aspect of working in the Healthcare Industry is THE HIGH DEMAND IT TELLS ON THE BODY AND MENTAL STATE OF MAN. You might not last long in this field if you do not take your health seriously in terms of bodily exercise and good eating habits.  One thing many do not know is that the Medical system remains one of the very few professions that distinguish Intelligence from brilliance. Like I do tell some people anytime I am opportune to speak at an event; To be a good nutritionist, all you need to do is to read all manner of nutrition-related books. But that is not so with Dietetics. It is so easy to plan a meal for a growing-up adolescent using relevant nutrition facts but that’s not so with Dietetics. In Dietetics, you will be faced with the challenge of not just what type of diet to give the patient but much more ‘in what measured quantity should it be given to such diseased patient”. It is in Dietetics that “what you read in the textbook might be different from what you see in the clinical ward”. While a Brilliant mind would be quick to quote certain facts in procuring treatment just because he read it in a book to a patient whether in-patient or out-patient (which in the medical sense is outright failure), an Intelligent mind would be calculating in his mind what and what could be achieved diet wise after a thorough analysis of such patient’s bio chemical’s results (so he is always apt to details and never in a hurry to administer a nutritional intervention for such patient).. Another challenge in Nigeria which I actually ought to speak on but I might not want to dive into is the issue of Erratic Power Supply and insufficient Medical equipment to successfully run the hospital settings.

AND to the Part B of the Question, my most exciting aspect of working in the healthcare sector is the privilege of meeting with other Health Practitioners during WARD-ROUND CONSULTATION. This experience especially in The University College Hospital, Ibadan remains and will always remain evergreen in my archive. The truth is “you can be sincerely wrong in the field of medicine which therefore makes it a necessity to embrace knowledge always with an Open Heart”. Another interesting aspect that time won’t permit me to expatriate on is the privilege of “Teaching Industrial Trainee (IT students) what I have been taught and trained for by my Senior Dietitians”. 

  • Where do you see yourself within the next 5-10 years of working as a Registered Dietitian?

This question is actually more practical in nature. My next 5 – 10 years as a Registered Dietitian would be a highly demanding and explorative one. I can see myself filling some gaps in the world of medicine. The “how to go about it” is what is being daily unleashed by what I engage in as my daily routine (a few of my colleagues are all witnesses to my funny indoor life). I see myself being a Consultant to Special dignitaries in the affairs of Developed nations; giving my quota in bridging the SDG long-time challenges aside from many others. Please, I will like to pause it here (Smile).  

  • What role do you think digitalization has played in the healthcare industry?

I will say Thank God for Digitalization. I keep asking questions like “If not for Digitalization, how would we ever have known nations in severe malnutrition as Somalia, and Syria”, the constant development in disease treatment as heart transplants in nations such as South Africa have been made known to every specie(human) on earth via Digitalization. Digitalization has created the ease at which communication could be facilitated within intra and interstate. So the health sector has further converged uniformly just because of an interlink called Digitalization. 

  • What do you enjoy the most about working as a Dietitian?

One thing I love about being a Dietitian is that this field makes one use his brain. As I do say; there is a direct proportionality between being a Psychologist and a Dietitian. In other words, a good dietitian is a great Psychologist. Practically speaking, based on the number of patients I have counseled over time, I can confidently say that more than 50% of the Patient’s struggles have been decoded overtime by the logic of “saying out what the patient feels reluctant to say maybe so as not to feel ashamed”. A very good example if I can remember vividly was an Obese female teenager who came for counseling in our Medical Outpatient Clinic. Many of the Girl’s issues were more of indoor fatty consumables which her parents had no control over (reason best known to them). My first few minutes of conversation with her then seem so repulsive until I engage the hand tools of Cognition. You won’t believe it: the counseling lasts for close to 2 hours because a once reluctant girl decided to pour out her struggles to a stranger (ME being the Dietitian in charge) just because I made her see her problem as nothing “big deal in a quote” and secondly because I gave her alternatives to her commonly consumed fatty foods which she enthusiastically accepted. 

  • What is the most common misconception people have when meeting with you?

Everyone who sees me at first always has the common notion that I am a cook or “caterer” which is parallel to the truth 

@ International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Off Ojo Area, Ibadan
@ International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Off Ojo Area, Ibadan
  • Can you think of any client story in the healthcare industry that you are especially proud of?

Well, as per this I have quite a number. But one of them that I have come to appreciate so much is a GDM(Gestational Diabetes) Woman who took it upon herself to adhere strictly to what I placed her on diet-wise. She practically followed my advice by having a special notebook for record keeping of her random blood glucose level. By the time she left the hospital, her sugar level was something to be proud of. Another client is a Barrister who happens to also be a DM patient and he ensured he followed through with every of the diet recommendation given to him 

  • Nigerian Doctors leave to work abroad for higher pay and better working conditions, how do you see the healthcare industry in the next 5 to 10 years if this situation persists?

The current health care in Nigeria is not encouraging; however, it is never beyond repairs. Now that we have a new Government (which I think might be in power for 8 years), let’s hope that they take a concerned and committed gaze toward the health sector. However, if the situation of our poor health system lingers, then we can only see more deterioration in the health system in the next 5 – 10 years.  

  • What type of clients do you see most often while working as a Registered Dietitian?

Actually, there are two main diseased conditions that I have come to encounter since my practice as a Dietitian commenced, the first is Diabetes/Diabetes Hypertensive Patient, and the second is Renal Patient. In short, some of my colleagues have already tagged me as a Dietitian that specializes in managing Diabetes Patients while few tagged me as Renal Dietitian. 

  • African ethnic groups and tribes have customs and traditions that are unique to their culture. What do you like about African Culture?

One thing that still makes me not only love African culture but also to be proud to identify myself as an African is the Food Culture, taking Nigeria as a good example. I listen to a Sports Guy ( a footballer to be precise) recently (about 2 months ago thereabout) who claimed that the secret to his excellent performance on the pitch is the special African delicacy (fufu). So one thing that I can say I have come to appreciate in African society is the language of food that makes us unique over the years 

  • Amazing memories are unforgettable; can you share with us the most amazing memory?

Well, I am grateful to God that I still have My Both Parents alive (and this is not at all to say any ill to Single Parents, not at all). My Parents brought us up in such a way that everyone in the family will invariably have a favorite when it comes to food. So one of the most amazing memories I can ever think of is the Pounded Yam with Egusi soup we were brought up with. I am a Proud Ondo Guy, from Irele Local Government. So anytime our mum pounds (and sometimes our Dad) while we were still teens, we would go outside the house (veranda) and sit on a well-laid mat to destroy the mountain of this special delicacy. After which, our Dad will tell us stories (I really miss those days anyways); sometimes Tortoise, other times Hunter story and all. Also, there are times that our dad will ask us idiomatic/proverbial questions in relation to our deep Yoruba heritage. This moment shall live with me forever and I hope I would be able to teach my own family a bit of what I gained as the heritage from my amazing Parents.  

  • What is one piece of nutrition advice you would want to give to everyone?

My piece of advice to all my audience out there nutrition-wise is that “Be conscious of what you take into your gut (stomach) as food”. Like I do tell people (a lesson my loving mother taught us as children) is that “the easiest way to die is through food”. So please my fellow Mummies and Daddies, Brothers and Sisters, I will leave you with this simple word “WATCH WHAT YOU EAT”.

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Africa’s largest polio vaccination drive since 2020 targets 21 million children

Africa’s largest polio vaccination campaign since 2020 kicks off today in three West and Central African countries, in a combined effort by national health authorities to immunize a total of 21 million children under the age of five.

The exercise, which will begin in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger before being extended to the Central African Republic next week, comes in response to 14 detections of type-2 poliovirus in the countries so far this year: one sample from environmental surveillance in Niger tested positive; six confirmed cases were reported in Chad; and seven in the Central African Republic.

No cases have been reported this year in Cameroon – which neighbours Chad and the Central African Republic – but the country has joined the vaccination campaign to avert any potential spread of the virus, particularly in border areas.

The multi-country initiative is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), and comprises synchronized vaccinations and joint plans in border communities to halt polio transmission.

“This is a crucial undertaking to close vaccination gaps in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and will provide millions of children with vital protection from the risk of irreversible polio paralysis,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Synchronizing the campaign will ensure that a large cohort of children across the four countries receives the vaccine at the same time to enhance polio immunity in a broad geographic area.”

The Lake Chad region, which includes three of the four target countries, is grappling with one of the world’s most protracted incidents of armed violence. It is also home to one of the highest proportions of so-called “zero doses” children globally, who are either unvaccinated or under-vaccinated.

All four countries have made huge efforts to bolster polio detection, curb the spread of the virus and protect children from the risk of infection and lifelong paralysis. However, despite all being certified free of indigenous wild poliovirus (the naturally circulating strain), the ongoing circulating variant poliovirus type 2, the most prevalent form of polio, persists.

Health workers, with support from WHO, are now also administering vaccines in homes, as well as at religious centres, markets and schools

Across the countries, governments have continued to improve the quality of immunization activities, bolstered by the broad implementation of supplementary immunization campaigns. These are targeted at addressing the residual risks for all forms of poliovirus, while also boosting routine immunization at the country level.

In addition, door-to-door implementation has eased the burden on parents to transport their children to health facilities for vaccination. Health workers, with support from WHO, are now also administering vaccines in homes, as well as at religious centers, markets, and schools.

Religious and community leaders, as champions of poliovirus eradication, also help to mobilize caregivers to vaccinate their children against not only polio but all preventable diseases.

Importantly, reliable data is crucial for effective disease surveillance and outbreak response. In the wake of the ongoing outbreaks of circulating variant poliovirus, countries have also stepped up surveillance to detect cases.

“The use of Geographic Information Systems tools, including Open Data Kit, is also accelerating the response to alerts of potential polio cases, helping curb the spread of the virus,” said Dr Richelot Ayangma, GPEI lead in West and Central Africa.

WHO, Rotary International, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have also joined forces behind “The Big Catch Up”. This is a targeted global effort to boost essential immunization among children following declines driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

WHO is supporting countries on the continent to protect all children against all forms of polio.

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The Paradox of Malnutrition and Obesity: A Tale of African Children

Higher numbers of malnourished children suffering from stunting and wasting are found in poorer households in East and Southern Africa, whilst more overweight children live in the richest homes, a new study reveals.

Researchers are now calling for an integrated approach in the region to tackling the ‘double burden’ of child malnutrition – the coexistence of child overnutrition (overweight and obesity) alongside undernutrition (stunting and wasting).

The phenomenon in East and Southern Africa is the reverse of highly developed countries, where a higher prevalence of child overweight and obesity children is typically found in lower socioeconomic groups.

Publishing their findings in PLOS Global Public Health, a group of researchers has uncovered the magnitude of socioeconomic and urban-rural inequalities in the population-level double burden of malnutrition among under-fives in the region.

Co-author Semira Manaseki-Holland, from the University of Birmingham, commented: The presence of a double burden of malnutrition reflects the region’s ongoing challenges with poverty, food insecurity, infectious diseases, droughts, floods, and conflict as well as the presence of the obesogenic environment driven by globalization and rapid urbanization.

“Our findings re-emphasize the need for an integrated approach to tackling the population-level double burden, with policymakers targeting specific populations that are vulnerable to child malnutrition, to avoid further widening of socioeconomic and urban-rural inequalities.”

Researchers focussed on malnutrition in 13 out of 17 priority countries, as defined by the World Health Organisation – Comoros, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Stunting prevalence ranged from 22.3% in Namibia to 42.8% in Mozambique, whilst wasting prevalence varied from 2.3% in Rwanda to 11.7% in Comoros. Overweight prevalence (including obesity) ranged from 3.7% in Tanzania to 13.5% in South Africa.

Co-author Rishi Caleyachetty, from the University of Warwick, commented: “Addressing these inequalities relating to the ‘double burden’ in this region requires strategies that address why certain subgroups became more exposed to these nutrition problems. Equally, it is vital to avoid strategies that solve one nutrition problem while worsening another.”

Researchers cite inadvertently promoting overweight and obesity by endorsing high consumption of energy-dense but not necessarily micronutrient-rich foods as an example of such unintended consequences. They recommend that beneficiaries of supplementary food programs should not be selected solely on socioeconomic status, but on nutritional assessment and monitored for changing needs and true effectiveness.

With slow progress to tackle child undernutrition in Africa, the global health community has

simultaneously seen a rapid rise in childhood overweight and obesity. The African region has

the highest burden of childhood stunting and one of the highest burdens of childhood overweight in Africa.

Importantly, the region is off track to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 aim to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. WHO considers the double burden of child malnutrition as a major global health challenge for African countries – particularly in East and Southern Africa.

“The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, surging oil and food prices are likely to be a time of worsening socioeconomic conditions and reduced public spending,” added Semira Manaseki-Holland. “Policymakers seeking to address the double burden of malnutrition need to make careful decisions regarding the targeting of limited resources.”



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Amazing Health Benefits of Okra/Okro to Both Men and Women

Okra or commonly known as lady’s finger is a widely consumed vegetable in tropical regions. Especially in Ghanaian kitchen okra is one of the most versatile foods, which are loved and consumed by all.

It is biologically categorized as a fruit but is generally consumed as a vegetable. For men, there are assertions that men who eat too much of it could affect their waist BUT no studies confirm this.

However, okra presents much good news for men and women from a scientific perspective and I examine it in this article.

Rich in nutrients

Okra boasts an impressive nutrient profile.

The US Department of Agriculture reports that one cup (100 grams) of raw okra contains:

  • Calories: 33
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Magnesium: 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Folate: 15% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 26% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 26% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 14% of the DV

Two studies (Carr and Maggini, 2017; DiNicolantonio et al. 2015) found that okra is a good source of vitamins C and K1. Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that aids holistic immune function, and vitamin K1 is a fat-soluble vitamin known for its role in blood clotting.

Moreover, okra is low in calories and carbs and contains some protein and fiber. Numerous fruits and vegetables lack protein, which makes okra somewhat unique.

Eating enough protein is linked with weight management, blood sugar control, bone structure, and muscle mass (Pasiakos SM, 2015; Devries and Phillips, 2015).


Okra is loaded with numerous antioxidants. One study(Xia et al. 2015) found that the main antioxidants in okra are polyphenols, including flavonoids and isoquercetin, as well as vitamins A and C.

Tressera-Rimbau et al.(2017) note that eating a diet high in polyphenols may improve heart health by lowering the risk of blood clots and oxidative damage. It may also support brain health as it can penetrate the brain and protect against inflammation (Sarubbo et al. 2018), enhance symptoms of aging and improve cognition, learning, and memory.

Decreases heart diseases risk

The thick-gel nature of okra called mucilage plays an important role as it kind binds cholesterol during digestion and triggers it to get rid of the body with the stool instead of maintaining it in the body.

For instance, Wang et al.(2014) conducted an 8-week duration randomly separated mice into 3 groups and gave them a high-fat diet containing 1% or 2% okra powder or a high-fat diet without okra powder. It was found that the mice on the okra diet got rid of extra cholesterol in their stools and had decreased total blood cholesterol levels than the control group.

Okra also contains polyphenols. For instance, Medina-Remón et al.(2017) conducted a 4-year study on 1,100 people and found that those who ate a diet rich in polyphenols had reduced inflammatory markers linked with heart disease.


Okra also contains a type of protein called lectin, which may inhibit the growth of human cancer cells. These properties have been reported to demonstrate potential in many cancer cells, which are adumbrated as follows:

The first study report: Okra kills 72% of human breast cancer cells in vitro

This study was conducted by Monte et al. (2014) and found that the lectin in common okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) was shown to kill up to 72% of human breast cancer cells (MCF7) in vitro, mostly by inducing programmed cell death (apoptosis). The Okra lectin was found to reduce the growth of breast cancer cells by 63%. In this study, the lectin was found in okra seeds, and researchers got their lectin by water extraction from okra seed meal. This anti-cancer lectin was found in 2012 and contained anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive (pain-relieving) properties, which makes it a very interesting compound for future research.

Stress Management

Doreddula et al.’s (2014) study found that the okra seed extracts have an antioxidant, anti-stress effect in the bloodstream of mice. Managing stress levels is an important part of managing diabetes. Long-term, high-stress levels can cause blood sugar levels to spike.

Okra, Pregnant women

Okra is a good source of folate, with 1 cup (100 grams) providing 15% of a woman’s daily needs for this nutrient.  Folate (vitamin B9) is an important nutrient for pregnant women. It helps lower the risk of a neural tube defect, which affects the brain and spine of a developing fetus (16Trusted Source). It’s recommended that all women of childbearing age consume 400 mcg of folate daily.

Okra water

Drinking “okra water” is a popular new method of using okra. Some have even suggested that drinking it helps lessen diabetes symptoms.

The drink is made by putting okra pods in water and soaking them overnight. Some of the valuable nutrients in the skin and seed pods will be absorbed into the water.

If you’re not crazy about the taste of okra, drinking this okra water solution is a quick and simple way to derive the benefits of okra without eating it.

Some people prefer to cut the okra into thin slices instead of soaking the pods whole. If you’re going to prepare okra water this way, be prepared for a slightly bitter drink.

Okra peel and powdered seeds

Okra peel is the most traditional way to use okra medicinally.

In the preliminary studies done to investigate the benefits of using okra, using shredded okra peel was seen to be the most favorable way to ingest it.

You can prepare okra to peel yourself by using a handheld kitchen grater or a lemon zester. Though there’s no known limit for how much okra peel someone should eat at one time, half of a teaspoon of okra peel should be more than enough for your body to benefit.

Powdered okra seeds are dried out before being ground down. Ingesting the powder from the seeds as a supplement has also been researched and seen to be beneficial.

The process of making the powder is a bit time- and labor-intensive. However, you can easily buy powdered okra seeds from health food stores and online suppliers.

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UNICEF, MINA To Intervene In Child Protection In N/East Nigeria

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced that it would seek to improve the survival of children affected by conflict.

It will improve dietary practices and provide high-impact lifesaving nutrition interventions, such as early identification and referral of acute malnutrition cases for treatment—and micronutrient supplementation to prevent infections among children.

The Multisectoral Integrated Nutrition Action (MINA) project, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office of the UK Government and implemented by UNICEF and other partners in 24 Local Government Areas of Borno and Yobe State from 2018 till march 25

According to the data from the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM 2021), shows that about four per cent of Borno’s population has access to improved water sources and two per cent in Yobe has access to safely managed drinking water. Up to 1.1 million people across the region still practice open defecation, a risk factor for malnutrition and stunting in children.

The Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) programme, which has been highly successful in reducing malnutrition and improving health in children, will be expanded to reach more disadvantaged communities. Roving “nutrition ambassadors” midwives who have received special training on nutrition issues will travel to remote areas of the country where most children are malnourished.

“The first 1000 days of life of a child is an unmatched window of opportunity. UNICEF is grateful for the support of the FCDO to invest early in the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the world,’’ said Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.“It is heartwarming that through the capacity building and empowerment approach of this project, thousands of children will benefit from this intervention in the long term,’’ said Cristian Munduate.

“It is heartwarming that through the capacity building and empowerment approach of this project, thousands of children will benefit from this intervention in the long term,’’

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FMARD partners with LASG to ensure proper haulage of meat across the country

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has assured of its readiness to partner Lagos State government to improve the distribution of meat across the country.

Speaking during the study tour and stakeholders’ engagement to understudy the air-cool Meatvans from the Abattoirs and Slaughterhouses to the various meat markets in Lagos State recently, the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria and Director Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr. Maimuna Abdullahi Habbib said that “the objectives of the tour was to understudy the state air-cool Meatvans, the Abattoirs, and the Slaughterhouses.

She revealed that the Ministry would facilitate the process to ensure that a policy was drafted to ensure smooth operations, enforcement, and implementation of the process across the nation, pointing out that the Ministry had procured 37 vehicles that would be distributed to butchers for free in order to facilitate the process across the country”.

She further stated that the Ministry would strengthen its collaboration with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to make every structure and every movement of meat from the abattoir to the market across the country a success.

The butchers have been supportive to the state government and will continue give its maximum cooperation

In her remarks the Hon. Commissioner Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture Ms. Ruth Abisola Olusanya said that “prior to the launching of Eko Meat van Project in Year 2004, Meat haulage business in Lagos State was rather disorganized, haphazard and unregulated, adding that wooden carts were used to transport Meat and Carcasses from Abattoirs and Slaughter facilities to the deboning and bulk-breaking sections.

She pointed out that four Private investors and Butchers Association Group formed the executing stakeholders to run the fleet of air-cool Meatvans from the Abattoirs and Slaughterhouses to the various meat markets statewide, noting that the project was funded by Polaris bank in agreement with the stakeholders.

She further stated that In 2009, the Ministry launched the Eko Refrigerated Meatvan Project which was an advancement of the air-cool Eko Meatvans into refrigerated form and a total of fourteen private investors’ companies along with the State Butchers Association’s and Lagoon Butchers Ventures were successful –screened and licensed to operate the project under a jointly-registered cooperative umbrella (Agege Meat van Multipurpose Cooperative society).

In his welcome address, the state Director of veterinary services Dr. Macaulay Rasheed Molade said that “the refrigerated meat transportation project runs from 2009 till date and it is involved in the daily haulage of Meat carcasses, cattle officials, head and feet as well as other cow parts from the abattoirs/slaughter facilities to the various meat markets”.

Earlier, in his Goodwill message, the Chairman of Lagos State butchers Association Mr. Alabi Bamidele Kazeem said that “the butchers have been supportive to the state government and will continue to give its maximum cooperation”.

The Essence of the Visit was to understudy the model of meat haulage in the state’s abattoirs, under the umbrella company known as the EKO REFRIGERATED MEAT HAULAGE. Its aims at adopting the best practices in our abattoirs nationwide and learning from the challenges that come from the initiatives in order to improve on them.

In attendance were representatives of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), National Agricultural Insurance Cooperation (NAIC), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), and the CEO A is Farmers Market.

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AU Member States Pledge to Improve Nutrition and Food Security in Africa

African Union Member States meeting in Abidjan have called on governments to speed up investment, coordination, and implementation of programs to improve nutrition and food security in Africa.

African leaders gathered for a three-day meeting to draw attention to the 2022 African Union Year of Nutrition. The meeting ended with the signing of an “Abidjan Declaration.”

“This must be the time for Africa and its leadership to rise to the occasion and provide sustainable solutions to the malnutrition and hunger crisis [in the continent,]” His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho told attendees at an event organized by the Government of Cote d’Ivoire in collaboration with African Development Bank’s African Leaders for Nutrition initiative, the African Union Commission, and several other partners.

King Letsie III, who is the African Union and African Leaders for Nutrition’s Nutrition Champion, spoke about African Union’s Executive Decision in July 2022 that called for a multisectoral policy framework for addressing malnutrition, as well as financing targeted and high-level political commitment to end malnutrition in all its forms.

King Letsie commended the Ivorian government for its leadership on the nutrition agenda, including sponsoring the Africa Union Year of Nutrition.

“It is not normal that Africans are underfed and malnourished – We need to develop our internal capacity to produce for indigenous needs,” said African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki.

Despite progress, most African countries still face the triple burden of malnutrition, where stunting and wasting co-exist with obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases like stroke and diabetes. It is estimated that 61.4 million African children under five years are stunted, more than 12 million are wasted, and some 10 million are overweight.

The Abidjan event focused on strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security in Africa. The Declaration calls for implementing and extending the African Union roadmap beyond 2022. The year’s theme encourages member states to examine challenges posed by hunger and malnutrition and identify actions and strategies to address them.

In his remarks, Vice President of Cote d’Ivoire, Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, called African leaders to action. “The urgency for our continent is to save lives and offer better returns to our youngest, who represent the hope and the future of our community and nation.”

This must be the time for Africa and its leadership to rise to the occasion and provide sustainable solutions to the malnutrition and hunger crisis

Vice President t Koné said his government is committed to working with the African Union, regional member countries, the Bank, and the African Leaders for Nutrition initiative and partners to improve nutrition targets.

“In the case of this year of African nutrition – women, men and children will be the actors and the beneficiaries placed at the heart of development and progress,” Koné added.

Dr. Beth Dunford, Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development Bank, said the African Leaders for Nutrition would be working with the African Union Commission toward greater impact out of the African Year of Nutrition.

She stated that the African Leaders for Nutrition, hosted by the Bank, aims to increase financing resources for nutrition by mobilizing African governments to adopt stronger policies and increase financing for nutrition.

Dunford stressed: “If we accelerate investments and improve coordination of efforts, Africa will advance nutrition and improve food security outcomes. The African Development Bank and the African Leaders for Nutrition remain committed to working with all of you, particularly the Government of Cote d’Ivoire, to see that this event’s deliberations are transformed into impactful commitments.”

The ceremony drew many senior African leaders, including Zambian Vice President  Mutale Nalumango; Deputy Prime Minister of Congo-Brazaville Anatole Collinet Makosso; Rwandan Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources Gerardine Mukeshimana;  and Ivorian Prime Minister Patrick Achi.

There were also several ministers representing nutrition-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, water sanitation and hygiene; health; education and social protection.

Click here ( to read the Abidjan Declaration,

To learn more about African Leaders for Nutrition, click here (

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Amid Food and Climate Crises, Investing in Sustainable Food Cold Chains Crucial- UNEP Report

More than 3 billion people can’t afford a healthy diet; Lack of adequate refrigeration directly results in the loss of 526 million tons of food production or 12 per cent of the global total; Developing countries could save 144 million tonnes of food annually if they reached the same level of food cold chain infrastructure as developed countries

As food insecurity and global warming rise, governments, international development partners and industry should invest in sustainable food cold chains to decrease hunger, provide livelihoods to communities, and adapt to climate change, the UN said today.

Launched today at the 27th Climate Change Conference, the Sustainable Food Cold Chains report, from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), finds that food cold chains are critical to meeting the challenge of feeding an additional two billion people by 2050 and harnessing rural communities’ resilience while avoiding increased greenhouse gas emissions.

The report was developed in the framework of the UNEP-led Cool Coalition in partnership with FAO, the Ozone Secretariat, the UNEP OzonAction Programme, and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

“At a time when the international community must act to address the climate and food crises, sustainable food cold chains can make a massive difference,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “They allow us to reduce food loss, improve food security, slow greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, reduce poverty and build resilience – all in one fell swoop.”

Food insecurity on the rise

The number of people affected by hunger in the world rose to 828 million in 2021, a year-on-year rise of 46 million.

Almost 3.1 billion people could not afford a healthy diet in 2020, up 112 million from 2019, as the economic impacts of the Covid pandemic drove up inflation. This year, meanwhile, the conflict in Ukraine has raised the prices of basic grains threatening food security.

All of this comes while an estimated 14 per cent of all food produced for human consumption is lost before it reaches the consumer. The lack of an effective cold chain to maintain the quality, nutritional value and safety of food is one of the major contributors to food loss.

According to the report, developing countries could save 144 million tonnes of food annually if they reached the same level of food cold chain infrastructure as developed countries.

Post-harvest food loss reduces the income of 470 million small-scale farmers by 15 per cent, mainly in developing countries.  Investing in sustainable food cold chains would help lift these farm families out of poverty.

Sustainable food cold chains can make an important difference in our collective efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

“Sustainable food cold chains can make an important difference in our collective efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. All stakeholders can help implement the findings of this report, to transform agri-food systems to be more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable – for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind” said QU Dongyu, Director-General of FAO.

Climate impact

The food cold chain has serious implications for climate change and the environment. Emissions from food loss and waste due to lack of refrigeration totalled an estimated 1 gigatonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2017 – about 2 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

In particular, it contributes to emissions of methane, a potent but short-lived climate pollutant. Taking action now would contribute to reducing atmospheric concentrations of methane this decade.

Overall, the food cold chain is responsible for around four percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions – when emissions from cold chain technologies and food loss caused by lack of refrigeration are included.

Lost food also damages the natural world by driving the unnecessary conversion of land for agricultural purposes and using resources such as water, fossil fuels and energy.

Reducing food loss and waste could make a positive impact on climate change, but only if the new cooling-related infrastructure is designed to use gases with low global warming potential, be energy efficient and run on renewable energy.

The adoption of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and the Rome Declaration on “the contribution of the Montreal Protocol to sustainable cold chain development for food waste reduction” provides a unique opportunity to accelerate the deployment of sustainable food cold chains.

Progress being made

Projects around the world show that sustainable food cold chains are already making a difference. In India, a food cold chain pilot project reduced losses of kiwi fruit by 76 per cent while reducing emissions through the expansion of the use of refrigerated transport.

In Nigeria, a project to install 54 operational ColdHubs prevented the spoilage of 42,024 tonnes of food and increased the household income of 5,240 small-scale farmers, retailers and wholesalers by 50 per cent.

But these projects, which are illustrated among many other case studies in the new report, are still the exception rather than the norm.

Recommendations for decision-makers

To expand sustainable food cold chains globally, the report issues a series of recommendations for governments and stakeholders, including:

  • Take a holistic systems approach to food cold chain provision, recognizing that the provision of cooling technologies alone is not enough.
  • Quantify and benchmark the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in existing food cold chains and identify opportunities for reductions.
  • Collaborate and undertake food cold chain needs assessments and develop costed and sequenced National Cooling Action Plans, backed with specific actions and financing.
  • Implement and enforce ambitious minimum efficiency standards, and monitoring and enforcement to prevent illegal imports of inefficient food cold chain equipment and refrigerants.
  • Run large-scale system demonstrations to show the positive impacts of sustainable cold chains, and how interventions can create sustainable and resilient solutions for scaling.
  • Institute multidisciplinary centres for food cold chain development at the national or regional level.
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Agricultural Automation Can Boost Global Food Production- UN Report

A new U.N. report finds agricultural automation can boost global food production and be a boon for small-scale farmers in developing countries.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, has just released The State of Food and Agriculture 2022 report. The report’s authors said automation is rapidly changing the face of agriculture. New technologies, they say, are quickly leaving behind some of the old larger-type tractors and large machinery in ways that could benefit small holders in developing countries.

Parallels can be drawn with the introduction of cell phones. The World Bank, among other observers, notes that African and other developing countries can harness digital technologies to boost their economies by advancing from landlines to smartphones.

FAO said automation can play an important role in making food production more efficient and more environmentally friendly.

Chief FAO economist Maximo Torero said many emerging technologies would have been unimaginable years ago. He cited as examples fruit-picking robots that use artificial intelligence and sensors that monitor plants and animals.

“Automation allows agriculture to be more productive, efficient, resilient, and sustainable and can improve working conditions,” Torero said. “However, as with any technological change, automation also implies disruption to the agricultural systems. The risk is that the automation could exacerbate inequalities if we are not careful on how it is being done and developed and deployed.”

FILE - A weeding robot is pictured during a demonstration of new technologies at the Arvalis farm, an applied agricultural research organization, on June 15, 2016, in Saint-Hilaire-en-Woevre, eastern France.
FILE – A weeding robot is pictured during a demonstration of new technologies at the Arvalis farm, an applied agricultural research organization, on June 15, 2016, in Saint-Hilaire-en-Woevre, eastern France.
The report looks at 27 case studies from all over the world. They represent technologies at different stages of readiness suitable for large or small agricultural producers of varying levels of income.

Torero said the report investigates the drivers of these technologies and identifies barriers preventing their adoption, particularly by small-scale producers. The report, he said, also looks at one of the most common concerns about automation — that it creates unemployment.

“While it concludes that such fears are overblown, it acknowledges that agricultural automation can lead to unemployment in places where rural labor is abundant, and wages are low,” he said. “It is important to understand that in a continent like sub-Saharan Africa, where there is an enormous amount of youth population, we can build the skill sets of these people to be able to have access to these technologies.”

In areas where cheap labor is abundant, the FAO urges policymakers to avoid subsidizing automation while creating an enabling environment for its adoption. At the same time, the report said governments should provide social protection to the least skilled workers who are likely to lose their jobs during the transition.

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