As suspicion fell on Super Cereal as a possible cause or carrier of contamination, WFP acted swiftly, halting all distributions of the food first in Karamoja and then across Uganda.
ROME, Italy, May 3, 2019 – As a precautionary measure, the World Food Programme (WFP) has temporarily halted distribution worldwide of a fortified blended food from one of its suppliers as tests continue to establish whether it is linked to outbreaks of illness in East Africa.
According to medical centres and hospital records, three people died and 293 were admitted to health centres in the Karamoja region of Northeast Uganda in March and April after eating Super Cereal, distributed by WFP. The product is used by WFP and partners to prevent malnutrition, especially among women and children.
Preliminary investigations have failed to conclusively find what caused the illness. To date, more than 2,400 food-related laboratory tests were conducted – including for mycotoxins, heavy metals, pesticides and microbial contaminants – but the root cause of the problem has not yet been established.
As suspicion fell on Super Cereal as a possible cause or carrier of contamination, WFP acted swiftly, halting all distributions of the food first in Karamoja and then across Uganda. Communications campaigns were launched to urge any people in Karamoja with remaining stocks to return them. These campaigns included using radio messages, focus group discussions, community dialogues and public discussions with elders and community leaders.
On 9 April, WFP halted the distribution globally of all products from the supplier in question. This involved putting on hold Super Cereal stocks in WFP operations in 25 countries.
In a further precautionary move, on 30 April, WFP ordered all stocks of Super Cereal from the same supplier should be secured in WFP warehouses and storage areas belonging to partners. Samples from the stock will continue to be tested to confirm or rule out any of the preliminary conclusions.
This issue is unprecedented in its implications for WFP’s global supply chain as the food supplies on hold around the world amount to over 21,000 metric tons, with an estimated replacement value of US$22 million. WFP has taken extensive preventative action as the health and safety of the people we serve is our foremost concern.
Super Cereal is maize or wheat blended with soya beans, fortified with vitamins and minerals, processed into a flour and supplied in 25-kg bags and is a critical part of WFP’s efforts to prevent malnutrition and save lives.
The Ministry of Health received an alert through its surveillance teams on the ground in Karamoja about suspected food poisoning and began investigations.
KAMPALA, Uganda, March 19, 2019 – The Government of Uganda and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are investigating whether there is a connection between recent illnesses reported in two districts in Karamoja and Super Cereal, a fortified blended food distributed by WFP for prevention of malnutrition.
On Tuesday, 12th, 2019, the Ministry of Health received an alert through its surveillance teams on the ground in Karamoja about suspected food poisoning and began investigations.
Some 262 people have been affected since 12 March with symptoms of mental confusion, vomiting, headache, high fever and abdominal pain. A total of 252 of those were discharged following successful treatment at health facilities in Amudat and Napak. No new admissions have been reported since Monday 18 March.
Seventy-seven of the 262 people were admitted in Alakas, Lokales and Karita health centres in Amudat district while 185 were admitted in Lotome, Lorengechora, Kangole and Apeitolim health centres and Matany Hospital in Napak district. The admissions took place between 12th and 16th of March.
There are unverified reports of three deaths, one of them at Matany Hospital, Napak District and other two in the communities. One male passed away in Lorengechora,Lookit village, Napak district and another female in Amuna village in Karita Sub County, Amudat district. All the deaths took place on 16th of March, 2019. The Government’s investigative team are in the communities to verify the two none facility deaths.
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. 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. Preliminary results of the Government investigation are expected in the next 24 hours. While results from abroad are expected within the next 5 to 7 days.
The Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Mr. John Byabagambi, the Director General of Health Services, Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Country Director of WFP, Mr. El Khidir Daloum, and officials of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards visited the affected villages, in Amudat and Napak district on Monday 18 March, and spoke to the affected people and health workers. The team found that the problem remains localized in only two of the eight districts of Karamoja.
Investigating teams from the Ministry of Health and WFP food technologists remain on the ground carrying out surveillance and epidemiological mapping to establish the associated factors and possible causes of this recent illness.
On Friday 15 March, WFP, working with the Government, ordered the immediate suspension of Super Cereal distributions in Karamoja and the refugee hosting districts where it’s distributed. This is as a precautionary measure until investigations are concluded. WFP is working with district authorities to retrieve all Super Cereal stocks from health centres and communities.
An intensive communications campaign is ongoing, advising people not to consume SuperCereal until further notice. Communities have been advised to observe proper hygiene and sanitation, for example through handwashing with soap and drinking boiled water.
Working through Government health systems, WFP has provided Super Cereal in Uganda for more than 10 years. The current coverage of Super Cereal is at 252 locations in Karamoja in addition to many sites across the 13 refugee hosting districts. Refugees receive Super Cereal in the general food basket.
Super Cereal is also 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.
Super Cereal is a key component in WFP’s support to the Government’s nutrition programmes that aim to prevent stunting or life-threatening malnutrition.
The goal of The United Nations World Food Programme is saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP supports governments and works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.
The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Karamoja affairs and WFP commit to conclude all investigations and share results with the public.
We appeal for calmness as investigations are going on and request the communities to report any suspected illness to the nearest health facility or call our toll free line 080010006.
“People should not claim they are waiting for government programmes in order to develop themselves. A pig will not resist to be taken to the market for sale or slaughter just because the road is not tarmacked” – Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on the 22nd July 2018.
There are some ironies with today, especially the mixed messages from President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. As he was saying that the public should not expect the government to deliver programs for their development, while he is supporting and his government through the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and the State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda who was starting Kisboka SACCO in Mityana District. So, it is weird that he is donating money to a project for development, while saying people shouldn’t expect the state to contribute funds. Is he dumb? Just take a look!
“Our Commander in Chief H.E President Museveni officially launched and accepted to be the Patron of the poverty eradication drive called Kisoboka (It is possible) in Mityana North. The drive, that was initiated by State Minister for Tourism Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda aims to bring about positive mindset change towards poverty eradication, job creation and wealth creation mainly though agriculture; It is already very popular in North Mityana Constituency with over 250 households joining the bid to earn at least 21.5 million shillings per annum” (Operation Wealth Creation, 22.08.2018).
“I gladly accept the request that I be the patron of Kisoboka SACCO and I will make a Shs50 million contribution towards its activities” (Museveni, 22.08.2018).
It is really not much to say, but if this works, the SACCO might do something positive to the public and citizens of North Mityana Constituency, however the OWC is not known for good seedlings and neither well-organized model of development. Therefore, this might fall flat and be empty promises to the district and constituency. We can hope for something else, but it might change for a very selective few.
This might just be another PR Stunt and a way for Kiwanda just to pocket money from the taxpayers or even shield his funds he is earning as a State Minister and MP. What is more ironic, is that the President talks of not waiting for the state to deliver development, while his state is launching possible development projects through the OWC. It is should be obvious. If he was a sincere man, he would see that.
He talks of not getting promises of development, while delivering a development projects… It doesn’t make sense.
That is just me though… I cannot be alone, but when you just have empty suits and yes men around you. You turn into this creature, this bloated arrogant prick who doesn’t see poverty; while living in lavish luxury on the state. Peace.
That the Northern Uganda have been in deep end of the stick in many eyes is evident, by how lax the state has been to take care of their needs and their rights. That can now be proven by the forceful evictions from land in Apaa Village in Amuru District/Adjumani District. Where the previously have been attempts to make a giant farm for an investor called Bruce Martin and also become sugar cane plantations and factory for Kakira Sugar Factory owned by the Madhvani Group, this goes all the way back to 2006. Therefore, the plans to evict these people has been slow process from the state.
Now in 2018, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) have evicted dozens upon dozens of the local residents from their lands. As the purge on the village and the area continues, this has been in the making, but the ones losing their lands get nothing, but lose their homes and their livelihoods at the same time. The government authorities have torched the houses and left nothing behind, as they are continuing to evict people. Their lives are no meaningless, as they have to flee their land and are living on the United Nations Compound in Gulu, while awaiting their future, as the state, UWA and the Uganda People’s Defence Force have been evicting them over the last two months. Surely, the hurt is felt and real.
Who can wonder if the state is finalizing the agreement with Madhvani Group to deliver his second sugar factory and also sugar plantation in the area or they are making a game drive from Bruce Martin. However, this is still grabbing the land without any forewarning and also taking their livelihoods without any compensation for the hurt.
The District Land Board and Area Land Board cannot been informed or care to inform the people, as the army and UWA have been busy evicting people with force. They are just pawns on the chess-set, and the authorities in Kampala let it happen. The leadership from afar are accepting it and have gazetted the land and taken the land. Therefore, the people who has settled in Apaa have to flee or be evicted from the land, without any justice or law helping them out. No compensation and nothing left for them.
This sort of play has to stop; I am sure the State House is fully aware and let it happen, as they are getting their cut of the transaction of the land for whatever purposes it has. Its been planned for years, but doesn’t make it better, when they could have had solutions back-in-the-day as the government knew this would come. They were already in talks with both Kakira and with Martin. They knew perfectly well, what was up. There is even a third scenario where the land is sold to someone else named Linton Brimblecombe.
Clearly someone forgot the memo and left it stranded. They just evicting people in the favour of one lucky bastard who capture all lands, without paying the needed ones who was actually living their and done so for generations. This is a violation of the trust between the citizens and the government. Because someone accepted the trade of the land people where living on and had rights too.
The Apaa village and Apaa community deserves better, all of the Acholi deserves better. They are being misused and taken for granted by the government. They are just pawns on the chess-set. No value, the first one in the battle-line to take out so the ones of value can be put into play. That is how it looks from the outside.
This have been planned for decades and now it happens.
Amuru Land Grab: What is ours, is OURS; What is their’s, is OURS; and Whatever is your’s, is still OURS. Peace.