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Three dead, 100 admitted after alleged poisoning at funeral

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Some of the affected persons recieving medication at Buwenge general hospital. PHOTO URN

Jinja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Three people are dead and 100 others are admitted at different health facilities following alleged poisoning at a funeral in Bukasami village, in Buyengo town council, Jinja district. The deceased include; Faisal Magumba aged 20 years, Suleiman Byanguwa aged four years and six year old Shamim Nangobi.

A health worker who spoke on condition of anonymity told URN that they received  dozens of patients throughout Wednesday night, but due to limited space and lack of medical supplies, 10 patients who are critically ill have been taken to Jinja regional referral hospital for further management.

He further says that, most of the patients are vomiting watery substances and suffering with difficulty in breathing.

It is alleged that the affected persons ate suspected poisoned food at funeral of late Ahamad Magumba, the county khadhi of Buyengo on 13th, February, 2024. They were served food in groups, which ruled out any suspicion of poisoning. However, some of the mourners experienced stomach aches, prompting about 50 mourners to seek medical attention at a private clinic in Buyengo.

Their situation worsened by Wednesday night over 103 people were complaining of dizziness, stomach aches, diarrhea and vomiting.

Salima Nabirye whose condition has now stablized says that, it is a traditional norm for mourners to share a meal with the bereaved family as a way of celebrating the life of the deceased. She said the alleged poisoning incident has created suspicion in the whole village.

Nabirye says that, she started vomiting during Tuesday afternoon and her husband bought anti-malarial drugs, thinking that it was severe malaria, but she only went to the hospital yesterday after recieving reports that all her neighbors were experiencing the same symptoms.

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Nabirye says that her condition has improved with reduced vomiting, but she is still experiencing severe stomach aches with diarrhoea.

Ali Kilume, a village health team member participating in the ferrying of some affected persons from the village says that the only government hospital in the district lacks the necessary medical supplies to attend to the patients, which is overly worsening their condition.

Samuel Akalyamawa, the area councilor says that the funeral attracted several mourners from different walks of life, with dozens of them suffering from the suspected poison effects unaware.

Akalyamawa says that, they have resolved to use mega phones and mobile public address systems where all affected individuals are being mobilized and ferried to different health facilities across Busoga sub region.

Moses Batwala, the Jinja district L.C.V chairperson says that the situation is overwhelming to the available ambulances and all the local government departments have been directed to avail their official vehicles for enabling easy transportation of affected persons from the villages to gazetted health facilities.

Batwala has further called upon Police to investigate the matter as a means of fostering justice for the deceased families and affected persons alike.

The Jinja resident district commissioner, Richard Gulume says that health and Police teams alike have been dispatched to collect samples from the affected persons, which will ease investigations.

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URN

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