Two people in Karamoja have passed on and several others hospitalised after eating World Food Programme's Super Cereal fortified blended porridge. One person passed away in Amudat on Saturday while another passed away on Sunday in Napak.
According to Uganda RedCross Society, the victims appear to suffer mental disorders. Super Cereal is provided by WFP through 44 government health centres across the Karamoja sub region and aims to improve nutrition among pregnant or breastfeeding women, and children aged between 6 and 59 months in order to prevent stunting.
Last week on Tuesday, WFP distributed Super Cereal porridge, sugar and cooking oil to 120 families at Alakas health centre II in Amudat district. However a day after, nine people were admitted at Amudat hospital with symptoms of high fever and mental confusion.
On Saturday, more people with suspected food poisoning were also reportedly admitted at Lotome health centre in Napak district - a day after receiving the food aid. Other people including children were admitted to Karita and Lokales health centres in Amudat district.
WFP in a statement said; with government, they are investigating and have submitted samples of Super Cereal for laboratory tests to determine whether there is a link between eating blended food and people falling sick after distributions.
“From the outset, WFP has treated this as a matter of extreme urgency and 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 and in it's Maternal Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) programme in Karamoja”, read part of the statement.
WFP also notes that it is supporting local governments in communicating with communities on the situation and is urging them to stop eating the porridge as a precaution in case a link is found. Breastfeeding mothers who took the porridge have been advised to immediately stop breastfeeding their babies.