Last Updated on: 29th June 2023, 02:35 pm
Flashback: In June 2017, seven people died after consuming adulterated alcoholic drinks, and according to UNIPH, case persons presented with vomiting, among other symptoms.
Oyam – August 23, 2022: The West Nile sub-region has so far lost fourteen people after taking poisonous a alcoholic drink at the weekend.
In a statement issued on Monday, August 22, 2022, by the West Nile Region’s Police PRO SP Angucia Josephine, four suspects were arrested from places of drinking and manufacturing to assist in investigations.
Angica also said the owner of the shop that sold out the drink in Geria village, Yachi parish, Ogoko sub-county in Madi Okollo district was among those rushed to the hospital for treatment after the alleged intoxication.
“General inquiries have been opened at the two Police Stations to investigate these incidences,” he said in the same statement.
“City 5 Pineapple Gin” is the killer uncertified alcoholic drink that has left some homes with orphans and a few dozen fighting for their lives.
Uganda as a country has an agency mandated with, among others, enforcing standards against dangerous and substandard products; certification and regulation of all consumables in the market.
Uganda National Bureau of Standards [UNBS] is a statutory body [as mentioned above] under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives established by the UNBS Act Cap 327 and became operational in 1989.
Amidst its [UNBS] core mandates, today, like before, heaps of sub-standard and poisonous goods continue to flood markets leading to loss of lives.
According to the Uganda National Institute of Public Health [UNIPH], the case persons presented with a history of sudden onset of headache, vomiting, loss of sight; sudden loss of consciousness and death.
“A total of 15 persons were listed. We conducted descriptive analysis to generate a hypothesis as stated: consuming contaminated locally distilled alcohol was associated with death in Wakiso district,” UNIPH then analysis revealed.
The laboratory and postmortem results showed that the locally distilled alcohol contained methanol quantities above the recommended safe levels of 50mg/litre.
Read more and the recommendations here.
On Monday, Police identified the deceased of the West Nile [Arua City] alcohol tragedy as Awuzu Nelson, 50, Alioni Isaac, 47, Edemara Dick, 43, Tito Gordon, 51, Titus Awudele, 51, and Karibu Cosmas, 53.
Two victims were at the hospital. Six others who died in Madi-okollo have been identified as Ofuti Charles, Angutoko Gilbert, Anguzu, Wolo, Toko, and Lemiya Valentino with 18 victims admitted to the hospital.
Averting more future dangers!
In Pakwach district, West Nile sub-region, the Resident District Commissioner [RDC], Paul Eseru on Monday, August 22, 2022, issued a veto to the community and traders against the sale and consumption of uncertified alcoholic drinks.
Eseru, in his letter copied to the Executive Director of UNBS, said whoever acts otherwise does so at his ‘own peril’.
A 2023 Worth Health Organisation (WHO) report reveals that an estimated 12.2 liters of pure alcohol is consumed by a Ugandan annually.
Globally, WHO says in the same report that an average of 6.18 liters is consumed per person per year.
Available information with the Ministry of Health, Uganda reveals that “there is a lot of alcohol in Uganda with production in the formal sector-breweries estimated at 37 percent” – while “domestically produced spirits account for 67 per cent”.
According to the ministry, these are “largely unregulated and unrecorded”.
A report by Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDL) published on August 27, 2022 and cited by the Ministry of Health indicated that the current law on alcohol – the Enguli Act 1964 which covers Liquor Act Cap. 93, Potable Spirits Act Cap. 97, among others, is hardly enforced.
UYDL, in their report called for an urgent review of the Act to regulate the manufacturing and sale of liquor.