By Hanning Mbabazi
Kampala: The government of Uganda has endorsed World food Programme (WFP) to recommence the supply of super cereals to the people of Karamoja to meet humanitarian needs from all suppliers apart from Turkey.
Dr Jane Ruth Acheng, the Minister of heath revealed that three samples from food samples and patient specimens were found with a broad class of bacteria found in our environment including feces of man and other warm bloodied animals and afflatoxin, which causes cancer.
The tests were carried out by UNBS, the government analytical laboratory, the ministry of health central public health laboratory (CPHL), Intertek testing services in Mombasa and South Africa. Dr Acheng said that “Further tests were also carried out by the Food and Drug authority of the USA.” She however noted that generally the samples tested did not have heavy metal and pesticides and that the levels of afflatoxins found could not explain the acute symptoms of toxicity that were seen in patients in Karamoja.
Aceng meanwhile says investigations are to continue and the results will be released as soon as possible. The food agency had suspended food distribution in March. “As a precaution, in case Super Cereal is linked to outbreaks of sickness, WFP is stopping distributing Super Cereal in all its operations in Uganda including in refugee settlements across the country, in Government-led Maternal Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) and community-based supplementary feeding programmes in Karamoja. WFP is supporting local governments in communicating with communities on the situation and is urging them to stop eating Super Cereal as a precaution in case a link is found”. Part of the statement reads. Mr Peter Smerdon, the WFP communication Officer based in Nairobi, told this reporter on Saturday that the UN food agency was working with the Ugandan authorities to establish the cause of suspected food poisoning. “We have decided to suspend distribution of porridge flour in Karamoja until further notice and WFP team of expert are working with Ugandan expert team to get to the root cause of the problem,” Smerdom, the WFP Communication officer said.