Poisoned Food: Church Bans Parents from Carrying Cooked Food to Schools

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Herbert Bataamye, the Mukono diocesan head of laity asked headteachers to take a kin look on the environment at their school kitchens and food stores where some of them are also hygienically poor which may as well be reasons for food poisoning.

Schools have registered a number of food poisoning cases from different parts of the country this year. According to Police records, Mukono district has recorded two of the very latest which also resulted into death of two pupils from one of the primary schools in Nakifuma-Naggalama Town Council, which left a good number of causalities on deathbed in different hospitals.

Nakanyonyi Senior Secondary School, a Church of Uganda founded, under Mukono diocese has been one of those schools. The incident at Nakanyonyi S.S left over 200 students admitted in different hospitals in bad health conditions showing symptoms life severe diarrhoea, stomach ache and others.

The Green School Makukuba where two pupils died as a result of suspected poisoned food.

Uganda Police together with other stakeholders however is said to have conducted through investigations and laboratory tests in reference to Nakanyonyi incident and came up with a report which ruled out poisoned food and pointed at food poisoning as a reason behind the incident at Nakanyonyi Senior School.

As a result of the above therefore, Mukono diocese has come up and banned parents from taking cooked food in all Church schools until further notice.

The ban was confirmed in the just concluded Mukono Diocesan Council chaired by Bp. Enos Kitto Kagodo.

The members in the council reflected to an incident at The Green School Makukuba in Nakifuma-Naggalama Town Council in Mukono district which happened last month, leaving two pupils dead and over 20 hospitalised.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango identified the deceased pupils as Andrew Kakumba (13), who was a Primary Seven candidate and Victor Bongole (10) in Primary One.

From left, the bishop of Mukono diocese, Enos Kitto Kagodo listening to Nakifuma County Member of Parliament, Fred Ssimbwa as the Kampala Metropolitan East Regional Police Commander, Joab Wabwire looks on. They had visited Nakanyonyi Senior School following the students suspected poisoned food incident.

Onyango said that the incident left 20 pupils admitted though they recovered after getting the relevant treatment from St. Francis Naggalama Hospital and Kayunga General Hospital.

Police discovered that on October 11, Norah Naggujja, a teacher at that very school prepared food from her home which she took to her three children in the boarding section.

“Naggujja served the food to her children who also shared it with their other friends at the school. During the night, the children who consumed this meal complained of abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headache and dizziness,” Onyango revealed.

On September 27, 2023, over 100 pupils of Golden Learning Centre Nursery and Primary School were rushed to Namungo Health Centre III and MUKJ Medical Clinic after they were allegedly served with poisoned food which included beans and posho.

Jane Kawala, the Wamala Region Police spokesperson, confirmed the arrest of two school chefs; Alfred Kule and Edger Mumbere to help in the police investigations.

After citing the above incidents while reacting on the report presented by the bishop of Mukono diocese, Enos Kitto Kagodo which also included the Nakanyonyi incident, Rev. Asaph Mugabi, the Principal of Glover C. Wilcox School of Mission which trains Lay Readers at Nakanyonyi said it’s high time the diocese banned cooked food ferried into schools by outsiders mostly parents, guardians and relatives to the school children.

Susan Wamala Sserunkuuma, the headteacher Mukono Boarding Primary School.

“We need to prioritize the health and wellbeing of our children while at schools. We should not just take the above incidents lightly but we need to come up with a long lasting solution,” Rev. Mugabi said.

Susan Wamala Sserunkuuma, the headteacher of Mukono Boarding Primary School told New Vision on Thursday that her school implemented this over five years ago.

Wamala says that such food packed foods delivered by parents to their children in the boarding section had a lot of issues including intended cases of poisoned food delivered by some step mothers targeting their step children which would at the end of the day end up claiming lives of other children who end up sharing on that same food.

“The fact that it is food prepared with different parents from different homes where some are hygienically lacking, it automatically causes stomach aches right from the evening of the visitation and the following day or days,” she said.

Rev. Asaph Mugabi, the Principal of Glover C. Wilcox School of Mission.

Wamala adds that because in schools they always emphasize uniformity, the foods packed by different parents where some took roasted KFC chicken and chips whereas other prepared local meals of luwombo, plus others who could just take matooke and cassava plus meat, they ended up having classes amongst the pupils, which are no more following the banning of delivering cooked food.

“Despite the fact that some parents were hesitant at the beginning, they slowly came on board. We call for a service provider who prepares a buffet which parents pay for their children and other family members they visit their children with to have a share. Everything is served in uniform following one’s likes and preferences,” she said adding that: “I am happy that the diocese came up with this kind of decision. I am calling upon my fellow headteacher and teachers to have it implemented.”

Herbert Bataamye, the diocesan head of laity asked headteachers to take a kin look on the environment at their school kitchens and food stores where some of them are also hygienically poor which may as well be reasons for food poisoning.

“We are told there are some pesticides which are used as preservatives for beans to enable them to last longer before getting spoiled. You rather buy small quantities of beans and other foodstuffs instead of using such poisonous preservatives,” Bataamye said.

Bp. Kagodo also tasked the diocesan schools inspectorate committee to take on that matter with a lot of interest.

“You should ensure that all the schools are observing proper hygiene in kitchen and food stores. Let schools ensure that they buy food from certified food producers to avoid messing up with the quality of food supplied in our schools,” the bishop stressed.

Julius Mukwanya, the Mukono diocesan schools inspector said as they are doing the rest of the things to ensure that children access quality meals at schools to ensure their safety, parents must abide by the resolution passed by the diocesan council to stop taking cooked food to their children in schools.

The members however did not clarify on the side of the day scholars more especially in the Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools whom the government asked to take eats (mawolu) for breakfast.

A big number of those more especially in the schools in rural areas have been taking cooked food including that which remained during supper.

Such parents, though their schools put up arrangements of paying a specified amount of money to prepare either porridge or posho and beans for lunch, they insist that they do not have money for that arrangement.




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