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The month of September 2021 is just about gone but not without a well deserved pause; to take stock of how things have changed, some drastically, with the seemingly endless COVID-19 pandemic. How does the world end this “pandemic”? From the lenses of a Public Health Epidemiologist and Wellness Advocate, it is nothing short of astonishing how the WHO and the global health community has blatantly ignored and neglected the role of safe, diverse, local and healthy African Indigenous vegetables and related nutritional interventions in the fight against COVID-19.

To make matters worse, the “junk food industry” which is the outcome of the failed industrial-chemical food system and related industry, shamelessly, continues to not only package and sell over processed foods to an unsuspecting population but they are also aggressively marketing these toxic foods, all over Africa. The focus of this month’s article is to expose the extent of these “Food Scandals” and make recommendations on alternative solutions, which among other benefits, strengthen the immune system and thereby make it difficult for COVID-19 infection to transform to more severe disease (and death in some cases) from weakened immune systems.

  • GRAIN, a relatively small international NGO, in partnership with AFSA, is determined to unearth and expose the “dirty linen” aka Food Scandals of the current conventional food system and recommend an alternative regenerative and sustainable agro-ecological food and nutrition system. Susan and team of GRAIN have systematically put together a series of “Food Scandals” and provided the requisite evidence to compel food policy makers to rethink how food is grown, processed, packaged and transported to unsuspecting consumers all over Africa: Find here the dossier: https://grain.org/en/article/6724-big-food-in-africa-endangering-people-s-health
  • A full length pdf illustrative pictorial of the food scandals can be downloaded from this link: https://grain.org/system/attachments/sources/000/006/600/original/FSAfinalEN.pdf
  • The introduction reads:

 “Food safety scandals are plaguing Africa. From contaminated meat to GMOs and toxic milk for babies, the dangers to people's health from industrial food production are real. Here we highlight seven cases that reveal how big food corporations generate new risks, increase the potential for cross-border contamination, and leave consumers vulnerable to the fraudulent actions that affect food safety.”

  • The toxic food connection with increased vulnerability to COVID-19 as indeed other infections and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is not in dispute. The weakened immune system and the body’s compromised ability to mount a robust and effective immune response by producing antibodies against the infection, in this case, COVID-19 is compromised resulting in more severe diseases manifestations. This phenomenon partly explains the higher COVID-19 deaths in the USA despite their higher vaccination coverage, as compared to Africa. The toxic industrial foods they consume weaken the body’s immune system resulting in more NCDs also referred to as co-morbidities, which in turn make the population more vulnerable to COVID-19 manifesting as more severe disease and more deaths.
  • Going forward, these food scandals, which are a manifestation of the unsafe and toxic food system, must be stopped to allow Africans make informed food choices that are aligned with their local food cultures and which enable them live healthy and fulfilling lives while at the same time earning decent livelihoods from their farm produce.

What is the alternative to these toxic foods and the ensuing food scandals?

  • Safe, diverse, local and African Indigenous Vegetables (AIV) are part of the solution to these food scandals and the toxic foods they sell to unsuspecting consumers. Recently, an international team of agroecological practitioners, including local universities launched a new book; a training manual on how to grow AIVs. Prof. Mary Abukutsa, a reknown indigenous vegetables expert and nutrition advocate, was the guest of honor at the book launch, at C-SHEP
  • Need to strengthen natural immunity and the antibodies it produces from consuming a nutrient rich variety of foods. Scientific evidence demonstrates that natural immunity is superior to vaccine induced immunity and the antibodies produced. There is increasing evidence that natural immunity, from safe and healthy nutrition, is the more sustainable and protective than vaccine induced immunity: Here is the evidence: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.08.24.21262415v1
  • A concerted and multi-pronged pan-African effort, through Food Campaigns, like the current one planned by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa(AFSA) and its various Alliances, including Organic Consumers Alliance(OCA), whose CEO and Managing Director, in the video below, makes a passionate plea and advises the UN Food System, governments, especially African governments, to make informed policy decisions and a mind-shift from blindly promoting the failed “Western food systems” towards sustainable time tested indigenous foods and food systems which make it possible for the entire ecosystem to achieve a healthy co-existence.
  • Have a listen to the benefits of mainstreaming diverse, local and nutrient rich African foods as part of the strategy to combat COVID-19 in addition to judicious(not mass) vaccination as shared by Dr. Peter Mokaya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQGWnRs1G_o&t=4s
  • If you found the article useful, feel free to share and comment on our various social media handles. Thank you, in advance, for sharing.

The month of August 2021 is about gone but not the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the raging pandemic life has continued to unfold. WHO and governments world over should be lauded for their concerted efforts in managing COVID-19. Unfortunately, the singular intervention appears to be “vaccinate, vaccinate. .. a jab in every arm” as the ONLY intervention!

 While vaccination (the 4th Pillar) has a definitive role in the management of COVID-19, accumulating statistical and epidemiological evidence seems to suggest that, those with less access to vaccines, including most of the  Africa population, appear to be more protected from the ever mutating virus by something else other than the vaccines.  Is there another factor contributing to this paradoxical phenomena?

How does one explain the apparent paradox that, Africa, with hardly 1% of the population vaccinated, has lower rates of infection and deaths as compared to countries, like the US and Israel, which have higher vaccination rates and yet appear more vulnerable to the virus?  What could be the “secret” to this apparent resilience to the SARS-COV2 virus, among Africans?

This month’s article focuses on the possible explanation hence the title of the article re: Safe, diverse and local African foods: Is this the forgotten 1st Pillar of COVID-19 transmission prevention?

To kick-start this month’s article which advocates for the  1st Pillar of COVID-19 Management, have a listen to the author of the article, Dr. Peter Mokaya, interviewing with a local TV station, LookUp TV, at WAMA, a Wellness Restaurant and Boutique Hotel, in Nairobi, Kenya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUwXJkp4IYc

  • From an epidemiological perspective - epidemiology is the study of disease distribution and determinants- there are four pillars that constitute the effective multi-pronged management of epidemics and pandemics, including COVID-19.
  • The 1st pillar is prevention of transmission of the infectious virus. The 2rd and 3rd Pillars are early treatment, with currently available drugs, like Ivermectin, HCQ and a combination of Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin D, in addition to other supportive therapies and hospital clinical management, which ranges from management at the General Ward level, followed by High Dependence Unit(HDU) and finally the Intensive Care Units(ICU).
  • Vaccination, which currently seems to be the ONLY pillar of managing COVID-19, has attracted coordinated efforts by WHO with significant budgetary support from Governments and Big Pharma. While vaccines provide some protection, emerging evidence seems to suggest that vaccine induced immunity is weaning off rather first at best and at worst, it seems not to confer much protection against some variants, like the Delta variant.
  • The case of Israel presents a real life evidence of the inappropriateness of relying ONLY on the 4th Pillar of COVID-19 management. Here... read the unfolding policy decisions conundrum unfolding in Israel: https://www.timesofisrael.com/tv-14-israelis-who-got-3rd-shot-later-infected-with-covid-19/
  • What could be the explanation behind the apparently short lived immunity from vaccinations, after the WHO recommended two doses of Pfizer vaccine, which is the vaccination administered in Israel, with an adult coverage of over 80%?
  • Luc Montaigner, the renown French virologist and Nobel Prize Winner, very early on cautioned the leadership of Israel and pointed out the potential risks of relying on ONLY the 4th Pillar aka vaccines as the “magic bullet”...find here: https://humansarefree.com/2021/08/nobel-prize-winner-urges-public-to-reject-jabs.html
  • Evidently the 4th pillar strategy of mass vaccination also thought to be the “magic bullet” is proving not to be that magical after all!
  • Based on time tested epidemiological principles, it is of concern that the WHO and those charged with coordinating transmission blocking strategies, for un explained reasons, seem to have “forgotten’ the 1st Pillar, which is strengthening the innate immune system by reducing exposure to environmental toxins and reducing stressful conditions on the one hand and on the other, increasing awareness and promotion of consuming SAFE and diverse local African foods.
  • Efforts towards the “mainstreaming” of the 1st Pillar have been championed by various natural health and wellness advocates: These advocacy networks include the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa(AFSA), an Alliance of Alliances, who are proactively championing and promoting the 1st Pillar, through efforts to mainstream agroecological approaches, at all decision making levels, from the UN level, to AU(regional level) to national and sub-national levels and indeed at community, family and individual level.
  • Towards that end AFSA has written a book on the key role of the 1st Pillar, what is packaged this book: The forgotten and neglected food solution. https://afsafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/barefoot-guide-surviving-covid-19-the-neglected-remedy_compressed.pdf

 How does the 1st Pillar contribute to mitigation and what should be the way forward?

  • It is now abundantly clear that the “magic bullet” alone, packaged as Big Pharm profit making vaccines,only, cannot stop the apparently unending SARS-COV2 aka COVID-19 pandemic.
  • There is therefore need for a more comprehensive strategy which includes awareness creation, promoting and increasing access and consumption of healthy chemicals free, local, diverse and nutrient rich foods. Why? Because they strengthen and boost the immune system. How does this support work?
  • For the sake of this article, here is a simplified animation illustration of how the immune system works: https://www.scientificamerican.com/video/nutrition-immunity-and-a-global-pandemic/
  • There is need to leverage pan-African and global efforts of stopping the use of toxic agrochemicals which “poison the soil” and kill the diversity therein; the most notorious and widely used being the glyphosate based agrochemicals(GBH).  Such exemplary efforts to stop the use of these toxic agrochemicals include those of Dr. Rosemary Mason, who continues to wage a relentless war on toxic pesticides use in the UK. Here: https://www.academia.edu/43081546/COVID_19_and_Pesticides_a_Deadly_Combination
  • Goinf forward, let us continue thinking globally but making local changes and interventions: Dr. Peter Wainaina, a former top Pharmaceutical Industry Executive, now turned into a passionate organic farmer explains how he converted his 5 acre farm from conventional chemical farming to agroecological organic farming. His efforts are laudable. As a seasoned and professional pharmacists of many years, Wainaina knows how safe and diverse, local African foods and cuisine contribute to the 1st Pillar of a comprehensive COVID-19 management strategy. Listen to Dr. Wainaina here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xnlFRXdELk

The month of June 2021 is just about gone and with it the start of the “flu season” in this part of the world. COVID-19 pandemic “flu”, however, remains the persistent health and socio-economic challenge of our times...it seems the virus is ever mutating with more deadly variants, like the “delta variant”

From an epidemiological point of view, it is no surprise that as more people get vaccinated, the COVID-19 virus (genetically modified or not) is mutating...mutation is a natural survival mechanism. While the world focuses on deploying more vaccines as the only way to achieve “herd immunity”, this article focuses on the significant and yet neglected role of natural immunity (post-infection) to achieve “herd immunity” and proffer lasting antibody protection. This is happening all the time as only about 10% of those infected are aware that they have been infected. This is especially true in Africa where diagnostic testing is rarely done due to resource constraints. A healthy immune system response is the “unsung hero” of COVID-19 prevention and management.  This emphasizes the role of safe and healthy nutrition in strengthening the immune system against infections in general and COVID-19 in particular.

  • Why is it important that healthy and diverse foods are consumed to provide requisite nutrients but also ensuring that the foods are safe? This is because the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) definition of “food security” includes “food safety” as a critical component of the definition. In other words “without safe food, food security cannot be achieved”...

 

  • The World Food Summit (WFS) adopted the following definition of food security: “Food security exists when all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.“ This definition has been identified with the four dimensions of food security: availability, access, stability and utilisation. It embodies the food and care-related aspects of good nutrition: http://www.fao.org/3/MD776E/MD776E.pdf
  • From the evidence provided so far, from previous articles on this blog, it has been established that foods grown with agrochemicals aka most conventional food are unsafe. GMO foods, often sold unlabelled for fear of rejection by consumers, are unnatural and therefore by the FAO’s definition constitute unsafe foods! Growing and consuming GMO foods cannot therefore achieve food security, let alone food sovereignty.
  • The good news is that, there is accumulating evidence that natural immunity (post-COVID-19 infection) has a significant role to play in mitigating more severe outcomes of COVID-19. This is a viable, yet neglected, strategy of preventing and managing COVID-19 infection (only detected by testing) and disease (when signs and symptoms manifest). An epidemiological distinction between COVID-19 infection and COVID-19 disease that is not understood by many!
  • Here is some of the recent evidence demonstrating lasting immunity post-infection from COVID-19. Here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33408181/ and here: https://www.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-britain-tcell-idINKBN27Q088

Now that we have established the connection between food safety and food security and that use of agrochemicals and GMOs is an “unsafe cocktail”, how is this related to COVID-19 Management?

  • COVID-19 virus is a part of the Corona group of “flu virus. As such, it’s management is similar to that of other “flu” viruses. It is not antibiotics but rather supportive care and management of symptoms focused on strengthening the body’s immune system to produce antibodies to fight and destroy the virus. This is where SAFE, healthy and nutritious diets come into play. From an epidemiological perspective and as experienced public health physician and agroecological regenerative food and nutrition systems practitioner, In my view, it is grossly negligent of WHO recommendations that ignore nutritional recommendations interventions as the first significant preventive intervention against COVID-19 transmission, instead starting with “wear a mask and keep distance....”
  • This article seeks to bring to the center stage the importance of safe and nutritious foods in supporting and strengthening the body’s immune system. Emphasizing the need to START with “safe and healthy nutrition” before you wear the “outer mask”. Put in other words, “WEAR THE INNER MASK BEFORE YOU WEAR THE OUTER MASK”:
  • Have a listen to this short video presentation, by the author of this article, making a pitch for the need to shift food systems from the current unsafe chemical based food systems to safer and more sustainable agroecological food and nutrition systems. The presentation was done to recognize the World Food Safety Day, 2021: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIl77TWec2A
  • Finally, the article author, Dr. Peter Mokaya, continues to encourage the readership to take action and “wear the inner mask before wearing the outer mask” which includes consuming a wide range of safe and nutritious foods: These include Traditional African vegetables and herbals, as a viable nutritional strategy, in addition to vaccinations to mitgage COVID-19. This multi-pronged strategy is more likely to result in more impactful outcomes in preventing and managing the global COVID-19 pandemic, especially in African countries where resources are limited. Have a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tyTod3Fr5c

The month of July is just about gone but not COVID-19; this “chimera virus” with scientific evidence of  “gain of function “ laboratory manipulation, is taking its toll on the health and wellbeing of humans, at an unprecedented global scale.

  • This month’s article examines the link between COVID-19, GMO Foods and increasing Hunger and Poverty (SDG no. 1 and no. 2) and proposes alternative affordable and acceptable solutions which are small scale farmer friendly and informed by traditional wisdom and knowledge of sustainable farming and food production and consumption, practiced over millennia.
  • The blog article takes the form of a critical analysis of a funded GMO foods promoting article and pokes holes in that article titled “we shall all learn to love GMOs. The rejoinder article provides extensive evidence that GMO foods are not a sustainable food option and should be shunned.
  • https://usrtk.org/food-for-thought/jennifer-kahn-gmo-propaganda/
  • The above article by Stacy Malkan of USRTK, posted on July 21, 2021 exposes the pitfalls and provides evidence on why GMOs are huge failure.
  • Jennifer Kahn’s ‘love GMOs’ NYT article is propaganda, not journalism...
  • Corporations are “effectively controlling what food ecosystems emerge once a country decides to rely on biotech-gene seeds.”
  • “Genetic engineering, through the use of a single gene, cannot address the complexity of drought.”African Centre for Biodiversity
  • For more information, see list of critiques of GMOs in the Global South,and the Gates Foundation’s interventionsin African food systems

 

What is the way forward? Eat GMOs or avoid them in favor of natural organic foods?

 The evidence provided in the anchor article and related links adequately answers the question of whether we should all learn to love GMO Foods or not. We should avoid them, at all costs, since they are similar to COVID-19 by virtue of the fact that they are modified genetic sequences that have been unnaturally tinkered with(refer to previous blog articles) using modern gene editing technology to make them patentable and controlled by of a few elites, as represented at the World Economic Forum(WEF) which has high jacked the UN Food Summit https://www.un.org/en/food-systems-summit to achieve nefarious objectives which are not in tandem with achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

  • As part of the way forward, the author of this article, Dr. Mokaya, explains the pitfalls and flaws of GMOs, on the one hand and the benefits of regenerative agriculture which includes organic agriculture, on the other hand: Have a listen.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02U2-1HMP_4&t=5s

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