Professor Francis Bruno Zotor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences has called for a “renaissance for African dietary systems that can be embraced by people, take pride in our identity and work assiduously to break any barriers.’’ He was addressing an auditorium-full of guests during his Professorial Inaugural Lecture on October 14. The event took place at the Cedi Auditorium with live streaming to a global audience that included Professor Zotor’s family, church members, mentors and colleagues in the nutrition sector, and the UHAS community.
Speaking on the topic: “Our nutrition, our health: What it takes to make Africans eat African,” Professor Zotor called on universities and professional bodies within the health sector, singling out the Ghana Association of Nutrition and Dietetics (GAND), to advocate for the inclusion of local food products in Government-procured food items, so as to encourage the consumption of local foods:
“We need to bring to visibility local food products which should be included in government procurement; people can be convinced of the benefits; traders encouraged to bring these foods into the big city, and involve our chefs to innovate.”
He stressed that it was time to explore the environment to attain greater heights in terms of food security and good nutrition, saying, “Enough with the fried rice, high-fat, high-sugar and oily foods!”
Zotor, who is Head of Department of Family and Community Health at the School of Public Health, UHAS, bemoaned the challenges of obtaining a healthy diet in an unhealthy environment as a critical issue for Africa, and advocated for introduction of a new academic course that brings together nutrition, food science and agriculture. He also recommended collaborations with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) for a nutrition surveillance system that would monitor the epidemiology of outbreaks, primary health care and the agriculture industry.
UHAS Vice Chancellor Professor John Gyapong, who chaired the Lecture, praised Professor Zotor for his resilience, commitment and global impact in his area of expertise.
The Vice Chancellor stated that Professor Zotor’s Inaugural Lecture being the fifth to occur during the ten-year lifespan of the university, is a testament that something good exists at UHAS. He emphasized that the university is rubbing shoulders with older universities in terms of research outlook and impact in world rankings.