Uganda: Suspected Super Cereal food poisoning

March 20, 2019 Africa , News , OPINION/NEWS

WFP photo

 

By

Gloria Nakiyimba

 

 

In Uganda, there have been no new reported admissions of patients in relation to the suspected food poisoning after consuming Super Cereal, a fortified blended food distributed by the World Food Programme, WFP for the prevention of malnutrition.

 

Last week Uganda’s Ministry of Health received an alert from Karamoja about suspected food poisoning.

 

262 people have been affected since 12 March with symptoms of mental confusion, vomiting, headache, high fever, and abdominal pain. Now the government of Uganda and WFP are investigating whether there is a connection between recent illnesses reported in two districts in Karamoja.

 

A total of 252 of those have since been discharged from Amudat and Napak district health facilities.

 

“Seventy-seven of the 262 people were admitted in Alakas, Lokales and Karita health centers in Amudat district while 185 were admitted in Lotome, Lorengechora, Kangole, and Apeitolim health centers and Matany Hospital in Napak district. The admissions took place between 12th and 16th of March,” read part of a joint statement issued on Tuesday by the Ugandan government and WFP.

 

Samples of Super Cereal stocks and water were taken from the affected areas including blood, vomitus, and urine from patients and are currently being analyzed at the Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory and the Central Public Health Laboratory.

 

Preliminary results will be out in the next 24 hours.

 

According to the statement, other food samples have been sent to a laboratory in Mombasa, Intertek Kenya LTD and another in Johannesburg Intertek Testing Services, S.A. LTD, for further analysis. These results from abroad are expected within the next week.

 

Three people died after consuming Super Cereal food last week. One person died at Matany Hospital, Napak District and the other two in the communities and another female in, Amudat district.

 

All the deaths took place on the 16th of March, 2019. The Government’s investigative team are in the communities to verify the two non facility deaths.

 

As a precautionary measure, WFP, working with the Ugandan government, has ordered the immediate suspension of Super Cereal distributions in Karamoja and the refugee-hosting districts where it’s distributed.

 

The organization is also working with the district authorities to retrieve all Super Cereal stocks from health centers and communities.

 

The country’s Ministry of Health has dispatched a team of investigators to the affected region to work with WFP food technologists to conduct surveillance and epidemiological mapping to establish the associated factors and possible causes of recent illness.

 

WFP says Super Cereal is distributed in many countries and has a robust record of fighting malnutrition and protecting pregnant or nursing women against malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of their child’s life.

 

Super Cereal undergoes all the verifications of quality control before being distributed. No previous complaints have been reported about the product in Uganda.

 

The fortified blended food is a key component in WFP’s support to the Government’s nutrition programmes that aim to prevent stunting or life-threatening malnutrition.

 

Working through Government health systems, WFP has provided Super Cereal in Uganda for more than 10 years in 252 locations in Karamoja in addition to many sites across the 13 refugee hosting districts.

 

 

 

 

Gloria Nakiyimba

Gloria has experience spanning more than five years in Journalism, particularly in field reporting, editing, newscasting and management. She is currently working with Capital Radio Limited [91.3 Capital FM and 96.3 Beat FM] as Head of News, a position she has held since 2010.

Gloria previously worked as the Kampala Correspondent for Radio France International [RFI] generating local story leads with international inference for RFI’s global audience. She also served as Political Editor for The Weekly Mail Newspaper as well as Online Content Editor for the California based Ugandan broadcaster KubutakaRadio.com.

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