By Sania Babirye
A family from Kadawa village in Amudat district in the North Eastern Uganda who claims that they were supplied poisonous food by the World Food Programme and Amudat District Local Government has dragged government to court seeking compensation .
According to the family led by a one Isaac Kolimuk and Grace Chepnyorio together with a non-profit organisation that fights for food and nutritional rights-Center for Food and Adequate Living, their rights were to adequate, safe and nutritious food were violated as a result.
Through their lawyers of Dalumba advocates and Kwesigabo Walubiri, the couple claims that on the 29th of March 2019, they together with five of their children ate the said including posho and immediately started shouting on top of their voices and walking while knocking walls with stomach pains.
They further allege that neighbors later rushed them to a Health center and were later informed by doctors that the entire family had symptoms of food poisoning as a result of the contaminated cereal .
They now want court to order government to compensate them and also declaration that the absence of national Food Reserves by Government is a violation of communities’ right to access adequate and safe nutritious foods .
The high court in Soroti will hear the case on the 29th of July 2019.
The food included super cereal foods and fortified blended foods to fight malnutrition in the two districts of Karamoja supplied by the world health food program (WFP).
On the 16th of March two people from Amudati and Napak died after the suspected food poisoning with many(262) left admitted in different health centers including Matany hospital in Napak, Alakas, Lokales and Karita health centers in Amudat with 77 patients while 185 were admitted in Lotome,Kangole and Apeitolim health centers.
Meanwhile 262 people were discharged after being treated at different health centers when the said alleged food poisoning broke out on the 12th of March in which patients were characterized with vomiting, stomach pains, mental confusion and a high fever.
A joint statement by the ministry of health and WFP stated that no more patients had been registered by the high 18th of March and also that samples of the super cereal stocks and water taken from the affected areas including blood vomits and urine from patients were taken to the directorate of government analytical laboratory and the central public health laboratory for testing and it was revealed that the said food had become contaminated because it had over stayed in stores and in the end became contaminated.
A total of five people were registered in the end.
WFP also suspend distribution of the said food in Karamoja and other refugee settlements following the disaster.
Super Cereal is provided by WFP through government health centers and community sites across Karamoja.
It aims to improve nutrition among pregnant or breastfeeding women by preventing stunting or treating life-threatening malnutrition.
The programme provides the nutrients that women and children need in the critical first 1,000 days – a window of opportunity from a child’s conception to his or her 2nd birthday.
Inadequate nutrition at this time can irreversibly hamper cognitive and physical development.
The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development.
WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.