12 February 2013

Tanzania: Nation Hailed Over Cancer Control

Photo: Chatham House/Flickr
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (file photo).

TANZANIA has been commended for its efforts to control cancer and ensure food and drugs safety. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano said during a tour of the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) in Dar es Salaam yesterday that he is highly impressed with such efforts.

"I am impressed and very happy with the efforts made in the country on ensuring food and drugs safety. I am very happy with the Ocean Road Cancer Institute efforts in cancer control.

The institute deserves to be in the IAEA role model list," he said. He added that many think of nuclear when they hear of IAEA but his agency was mostly interested in safety on food, drugs, and cancer control and water management.

Dr Amano noted that the world is faced with rapid population growth which means increased demand for food but added that food safety should always be adhered to. "My tour to this county gives me an opportunity to learn from Tanzania, I arrived yesterday (Sunday) and we have had discussions with the ministers on various things of interest to us and I promise that we will continue to work in collaboration," he said.

Earlier, the TFDA Director General, Mr Hiiti Sillo, noted that IAEA has supported various projects including facilitating various trainings of the authority staff. He noted that the IAEA helped in the project dubbed 'United Republic of Tanzania 5024' that was implemented from 2005 to 2009 whose main objective was to use nuclear related techniques in ensuring food safety by controlling pesticide residues and contaminants such as metallic contaminants and aflatoxins.

"Under this project, the Authority received a total of 241,892 US dollars used in procuring laboratory equipment and chemicals worth 112,250 and fellowships worth 111,150 for training six analysts each for three months in Germany, Australia and the UK....," he said.

He added that basing on the support the TFDA's capacity to analyze food samples for mycotoxins, melamine in milk, metallic contaminants and food addictives has increased from an average of 30 samples during 2008/09 to more than 1,000 samples during 2011/'12. Hinting on the challenges, Mr Sillo noted that TFDA still faces inability to identify and quantify pesticide residues in food due to absence of laboratory equipments.

"We also face a challenge of absence of service and maintenance engineers for laboratory equipment within the country and thus hiring the service from technicians based in Kenya at a cost of 25,000 US dollars," he said. Dr Amano, who arrived in the country on Sunday, was accompanied at the TFDA by the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Seif Rashid, and the Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa.

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