With support from Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), International Institute for Legislative Affairs (IILA) organized a stakeholders’ sensitization meeting for the project dubbed, “Advocating for Effective Regional Regulatory Mechanism for Elimination of Industrially Produced Trans-Fatty Acids (TFAs). This workshop brought together health professionals, relevant Government Ministries, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), private sector player among others.
Consumption of foods containing Trans-Fatty Acids (TFAs) and sugar sweetened beverages has led to a sharp rise in diet-related NCDs including high blood pressure, CVDs, stroke and diabetes5. Consequently, due to lack of or poor prevention and control measures, there has been a rise in the cost of treatment for NCDs which is beyond the financial ability of a majority in the region. This has escalated the strain on government resources to shoulder this health burden. As a result of these challenges, there is an increasing realization and need to apply multi-pronged approaches for control and prevention like has been employed tobacco control interventions. Specifically, a regulatory approach adopted at the regional level would provide an effective control mechanism covering a wide population.
As a health professional, I am glad to have participated in this workshop even as I provided my technical input to the project. Together with fellow participants, we explored ways through which we can support the process of eliminating TFAs in the East African Community; the partner relevant in this process; the opportunities we can leverage, the resources needed; the strategies for advocacy; anticipated challenges and how to surmount them. As stakeholders in this journey, we vow not to bequeath the responsibility of addressing TFAs to few players. All of us must join hands and eliminate TFA and eventually enjoy the highest attainable standards of health as enshrined in the Kenyan constitution and other regional and international covenants.