Work together to tackle Aflatoxins, MoH and MAAIF urged

Maize attacked by Aflatoxins. PHOTO/INTERNET

Kampala, (UG): The Parliamentary Committees on Health and Agriculture investigating aflatoxins have tasked the Ministry of Health to tackle food contamination using available research.

In a meeting with Hon. Margaret Muhanga, the State Minister for Health in charge of General Duties on Wednesday October 4th, the members of parliament called on the Ministry of Health and Ministry to synergize with the Ministry of Agriculture to curb the spread of aflatoxins in food produce.

Hon. Julius Karuhanga, the MP for Rwampara East County, Mbarara district, believes the two ministries should build on the work done by researchers in the fight against aflatoxin.

“There is a need to standardise the testing algorithm for aflatoxins. The Ministry of Health and that of Agriculture should work together to facilitate the work done by researchers,” said Hon. Julius Karuhanga.

While chairing the committee, Hon. Dr. Samuel Opio Acuti, MP Kole North, noted that little action has been taken to prevent and manage aflatoxins, despite the wide range of research done on the subject.

“What are the health sector’s plans to manage issues like liver cancer that have been attributed to aflatoxin poisoning? Do we have the capacity to test for aflatoxin levels in blood samples?” Opio asked.

According to Muhanga, about 48 to 56 of the new cases of liver cancer at the Uganda Cancer Institute currently result from aflatoxin exposure. He argued that food safety education can reduce the disease burden.

Despite the deployment of extension workers, inspectors, and Village Health Teams (VHT) across the country, Muhanga said they are not known by farmers. She called upon technical heads, especially in the districts and subcounties, to tighten their level of supervision.

“These officials are supposed to give key information to locals, but they do not show up at their workstations. We need to speak to our local government leaders to monitor these people,” Muhanga added.

The lawmakers further urged the government to develop targeted messages on the management of aflatoxins through intensified campaigns, including messages in local languages in the media.
“Can you come up with a plan to publicise information on aflatoxins just like you do for other diseases like malaria, because we have not heard it on our radios and other media?” said Hon. Mary Begumisa (NRM, Ssembabule District Woman Representative).

Dr. Charles Olaro, the Director of Curative Services at the Ministry of Health, said a handbook on aflatoxins management for extension workers has been developed for better information dissemination.

Muhanga added that enhancing food system safety education, awareness, and communication among stakeholders like consumers, producers, processors, retailers, and regulators will improve aflatoxin management.

Do you have a story or an opinion to share? Email us on: Or follow the Daily Express on or for the latest updates.

Daily Express is Uganda's number one source for breaking news, National news, policy analytical stories, e-buzz, sports, and general news.

We resent fake stories in all our published stories, and are driven by our tagline of being Accurate, Fast & Reliable.

Copyright © 2024 Daily Express Uganda. A Subsidiary of Rabiu Express Media Group Ltd.

To Top
Translate »