Aflatoxins Send 56 Cases of Liver Cancer to Mulago – MOH

The Ministry of Health has informed Parliament that the Uganda Cancer Institute receives about 56 cases of liver cancer due to the consumption of food contaminated with aflatoxins.

According to Margret Muhanga, the state Minister for Primary Health Care , the government spends 1.2Billion shillings to treat all liver cancer patients including those resulting from consuming food with aflatoxins.

On the average, Uganda Cancer Institute receives between 170-200 liver cancer patient cases per year but between 48 to 56 of these are a result of aflatoxin exposure, and the government spends Shs3.12Bn to treat 200 liver cancer patients, with each patient’s treatment costing an average of Shs15.6Mn annually, Muhanga revealed to parliament.

Aflatoxins according to experts are fungal toxins that infect certain foods as beans , dried maize and cassava among others .

Earlier this year , the government of South Sudan withheld a number of trucks from Uganda importing food into their country citing that the foods had aflatoxins. However , a number were later cleared by the UNBS which is taxed with ensuring food consumed is safe .

Experts have also noted that schools expose Ugandans to the risk of food consumed with aflatoxins.

Abel Atukwase, a senior lecturer at the college of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences mentioned that aflatoxins thrive in food storage facilities,some preferring moist and others dry .

While he mentioned that it may be hard to know whether the food has been infested , he gave pointers like foods changing color sometimes to blue , greenish or white among others .

Scientists who convened at Makerere University yesterday proposed that strong political will and commitment from the government will go a long way in tackling the negative effects of aflatoxins in foods.

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