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Avoidable Dangers!

The people of the South West Region, in particular, and the country, at large, are still at a loss as to how a whole family almost perished in food poisoning in Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, Camp in Moliwe near Limbe last week.

The sorry story goes that a grandmother who was preparing food mistook a chemical product used to fertilize plants for salt.  Two children and the grandmother died immediately after consuming the poisoned food while two other family members who also ate the food were last week responding to treatment at the CDC Tiko Cottage Hospital.

Even as the population grind their teeth in the ill luck that befell the family, so many questions beg for answers here. What was the chemical product doing in the kitchen or within the reach of children and an elderly woman? Was it not written on it, like in most dangerous products, that it should be kept out of the reach of children? Did the keeper know the danger of what she had? Even if she did not understand the instructions on the container of the dangerous product, may be out of illiteracy, was there no one in the corporation to enlighten users of the risks in chemical products they acquire for use in the plantations?

As painful as the disaster is in losing three loved ones at a go, it goes without saying that the accident was out of sheer carelessness. The old woman and her grand children were simply victims of an irresponsible behaviour from someone who would have mastered the use and preservation of dangerous chemicals. Coming from a CDC camp means one of the victims was a worker of the corporation who should have been schooled on the dangers of chemical products they use every day. In fact, chemical products are dangerous but avoidable.

As the dust settles on the Moliwe saga, care has to be taken and seriously too to pre-empt such happenings in future. This was not the first time in the country as reports have pointed to related negligence in the past in the use of dangerous products with far-reaching consequences on their victims.

Analysts say the poor use of some chemical products is at the origin of some terminal diseases that continue to wreak havoc across the country and some parts of the world. Results of some studies have reportedly found consistent evidence of serious health risks such as cancer, nervous system diseases and reproductive problems in people exposed to pesticides and other chemical products through home and garden contact

Either they perish instantly, like the case in Moliwe, or they incur ailments that drag on for long before claiming their lives. The latter scenario drains scarce resources in drugs and other care given to the victim as well as hampers socio-economic development that would have been spearheaded by the victim had he/she not been hit by the evitable disaster.

In as much as the products, like the one in Moliwe, are used to fertilize plants in order to harvest better, their misuse can and has proven to be very dangerous. There is therefore need to employ optimal vigilance and respect of instructions on their use and preservation. This starts with scrupulously screening those who sell and use the products. Once the sellers themselves cannot measure the magnitude of the danger contained in the product, especially once misused, it can be difficult to caution buyers on how to avoid the danger.

After all, one cannot forget what he/she has never known.  Big corporations like CDC that acquire and use such chemicals on daily basis should, as a matter of priority, ensure that those to whom they are given are well lectured on their use and preservation. The Moliwe happening is a wakeup call for caution from all and sundry for the worse would have happened had the food been prepared in bulk and eaten in a hugely-attended ceremony. 

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