$3.6 Billion!!!

$3.6 Billion!!! That’s a lot money you’ll be inclined to agree with me. As a matter of fact, in this country Nigeria, money of this magnitude brings to mind the public funds that were recently reported missing from SURE-P (Petroleum Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme). But this is no missing government money. This was the estimated yearly economic cost of food-borne illness in Nigeria according to a study conducted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in 2010.

The report stated that the study was conducted by using data from a systematic literature review, value chain survey of the livestock sector, and hospital survey as well as estimating the cost of medical treatment and lost productivity using Monte Carlo stochastic simulation to take into account uncertainty and variability.

According to the report, this amount covered cost of treating food-borne illness in the country (cost of private and public health services, cost of medication), cost of preventing food-borne illness (risk mitigation, water treatment/fluoridation/filters, vaccination of livestock/poultry, disease surveillance research, public awareness campaigns), cost to the livestock sector and veterinary public health system (practices and procedures to control disease along the value chain, cost of treatment of livestock, herd slaughter, product recall), loss of productive man hours through absenteeism from work place, cost of investigation, as well as more intangible costs to the ecosystem.

Follow this link to read the full report ILRI

Considering that this report is four years old, we can correctly assume that it is somewhat outdated and the current economic cost of food-borne illness to the country needs to be ascertained.

But the bottom line is that food-borne illness is not just hurting the health and pockets of individuals and families, it’s hurting the nation’s economy too at a cost that isn’t sustainable.