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Dr. Moses Gathura Gichia Coordinator for Africa Region retires


CCAFRICA Coordinator and Executive Committee Member of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Dr. Moses Gathura Gichia has recently announced his retirement from public service and as the Coordinator of the Joint FAO/WHO Regional Coordinating Committee for Africa.

It has been a pleasure working alongside Codex. It was just an amazing yet a profoundly rewarding experience.

Dr Gathura wished Codex "every success in shaping and mapping the global path towards a better level of protecting consumer health and fair trade practices in food”.

35 years service to food safety

Dr Gathura joined Kenya’s Department of Veterinary Service 35 years ago, where he was one of the pioneers in implementing food hygienic practices in the meat industry.

At the last CCAFRICA meeting held in Nairobi in January he spoke about pressing food safety issues in the region.

"Food safety control systems have been under unprecedented pressure during outbreaks of foodborne illnesses which have led to loss of life and adversely affected trade and the general economy. The 2015 WHO Report on the burden of foodborne diseases was explicit on the need to improve food safety in Africa. Non-typhoidal Salmonellosis and diarrheal diseases have ruthlessly affected children. Aflatoxicosis and malnutrition are also of concern."

National food control systems

Dr Gathura also identified the need to strengthen national food control systems as one of the most pressing emerging food safety issues in the African region: "Political awareness coupled with the economic trajectory path that Africa is experiencing has increased consumer awareness and education on matters of food safety. The integration of Africa in the global food trade has seen the increased risk of importing unsafe foods. Climate change has also brought a new dimension to food safety" he said.

He underlined the importance of fffective participation in Codex which was, he said, "no longer optional in the current global arena."

The Secretary of the Codex Alimentarius Commission Mr Tom Heilandt expressed his "sincere appreciation for Dr Gathura's work in Codex”.

The Chairperson of the Commission, Mrs Awilo Ochieng Pernet said: "the Codex Alimentarius Commission has greatly benefitted from Dr Gathura’s knowledge, diligence, wisdom and friendship. Dr Gathura promoted inter-regional collaboration among Members of the Codex Executive Committee with a view to exchanging ideas and to learning from each other."

Dr William Kimutazi Maritim

Dr William Kimutazi Maritim, National Coordinator for the Standard and Market Access Programme in the Directorate of Veterinary Services, who has been closely working with Dr Gathura, has been nominated as the new Coordinator for CCAFRICA by Kenya.