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Africa’s Urgent Campaign Against The Hidden Threat

Africa's Urgent Campaign Against The Hidden Threat Of Trans-Fats

A c r o s s A f r i c a , a pressing health concern is gaining attention as nations mobilize to combat the insidious effects of artificial transfats found in popular snack foods and cooking oils. These harmful fats, prevalent in baked goods, contribute to a multitude of health issues, including clogged arteries, heart attacks, and premature deaths. Shockingly, an estimated 10,000 lives are lost annually in Africa due to coronary heart disease linked to trans-fat consumption, a number projected to surge without immediate intervention.


A t t h e h e a r t o f this health crisis lies an industrial process
that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils, creating artificial trans-fats. The primary
dietary source, known as partially hydrogenated
oils (PHOs), is favored
Seizing Healthcare Opportunities in Africa:
Reliance Health’s Transformative Model
Expands Across the Continent
An astute investor sees
a promising opportunity
in addressing the glaring
healthcare deficit across
the African continent,
spanning from Nigeria
to Egypt.
Africa’s healthcare
system significantly lags
behind other regions, as
evidenced by its mere 2%
contribution to global
h e a l t h e x p e n d i t u r e
d e s p i t e c o m p r i s i n g
a l m o s t 1 8 % o f t h e
world’s population.
C o m p o u n d e d b y
a shortage of medical
professionals, with just
2.9 doctors per 10,000
Africa’s Urgent Campaign
Against The Hidden Threat Of Trans-Fats
by manufacturers for
its affordability and
p r o l o n g e d p r o d u c t
shelf life. However, the
c o n s u m p t i o n
of PHOs raises
levels of bad
c h o l e s t e r o l
( L D L ) w h i l e
simultaneously
lowering good
c h o l e s t e r o l
( H D L ) ,
s i g n i f i c a n t l y
e l evat i n g t h e
risk of stroke,
heart attack,
and, ultimately,
p r e m a t u r e
death.
The urgency
t o a d d r e s s
this critical issue was
underscored in 2018
when the World Health
Organization (WHO)
called for the global
elimination of trans-fats.
To date, 56 countries,
encompassing nearly half
of the world’s population,
have implemented bestpractice
policies. Notably,
South Africa, Egypt,
and Nigeria have taken
the lead. These policies
not only save lives but
a l s o y i e l d e c o n o m i c
benefits, as evidenced by
a 2023 cost-effectiveness
analysis in Kenya. The
s t u dy r eve a l e d t h at
eliminating ar tificial
trans-fats would prevent
approximately 110,000
heart attacks and 49,000
heart disease deaths,
resulting in a substantial
$290 million saving in
healthcare costs over the
population’s lifetime.
Despite these strides,
many African
n a t i o n s
r e m a i n
v u l n e r a bl e
t o t r a n s –
f a t – l a d e n
p r o d u c t s ,
l a c k i n g
e s s e n t i a l
n a t i o n a l
re gulations
f o r
elimination.
Governments
a r e u r g e d
t o s w i f t l y
adopt WHOrecommended
policies,
e i t h e r i m p o s i n g
r e s t r i c t i o n s o n
industrially produced
t r a n s – f a t t y a c i d s
o r i m p l e m e n t i n g a
nationwide ban on PHOs.
T h e W H O ‘ s
R E P L A C E a c t i o n
package offers a detailed
s t r a t e g i c p l a n f o r
countries to rid their
food supplies of transfats.
In collaborative
e f fo r t s , A f r i c a C D C
and Resolve to Save
Lives are committed to
supporting interested
countries by providing
technical assistance.
Aligned with this goal,
A f r i c a C D C ‘ s 2 0 2 2 –
2026 strategy for noncommunicable
diseases
addresses commercial
determinants of health,
with a specific focus on
eliminating trans-fats.
I m p l e m e n t a t i o n
of these best-practice
policies not only saves
lives but also bolsters
economies, a crucial step
toward building resilient
populations and fostering
prosperity. The time for
African nations to unite
against this preventable
health threat is now, as
they work collectively
to ensure a healthier
and economically robust
future by making their
continent trans-fat-free.