Health Ministry Replaces Super Cereal Blended Flour

Ministry of Health has replaced Super Cereal maize blended flour with Super Cereal Plus and Ready- to- use Supplementary Food-RUSF packs and sachets respectively.

The move follows the suspension of the distribution of Super Cereal flour by the World Food Programme-WFP last month. The suspension was announced on March 16th when hundreds of people from Amudat and Napak districts developed health complications after eating the flour.

At least 260 people were confirmed to have developed health complications after eating porridge prepared using Super Cereal flour. The affected persons developed mental disorders accompanied with fever, pain in the throat, diarrhea and other complications.

Four people were confirmed to have died by the police after allegedly eating the super cereal maize blended flour. The deceased included a two- year old Lotee, 60- year old Martin Sagal, and Mariko Lokut, 58, all from Napak district.

The other was Sentina Chemukan from Amuna village, Karita Sub County in Amudat district.

In a letter issued last month, the State Minister for Primary Health Care, Joyce Moriku Kaducu, said the new brands replacing Super Cereal flour have similar nutrient values with the only difference being an addition of milk; packaging material and quantity.

The letter adds that all the proposed commodities are recommended under the integrated management of acute malnutrition used in Uganda over the years.

“Since these commodities can be used in the prevention and treatment of malnutrition, the Ministry of Health supports the proposed adjustments from ‘Super Cereal’ to Super Cereal Plus, and/ or RUSF during the period of suspension of super cereal”, the letter reads in conclusion.

Charles Omudu, the Moroto District Health Educator who doubles as the Food and Nutrition Focal Point Person in the district, says the level of malnutrition especially among children is on the increase. He notes that much as the replacement was made, a number of families that used to benefit from the super cereal maize blend have been hit hard by the hunger situation in the region.

Although super cereal was meant for the malnourished, many family members including adults in Karamoja used to depend on it. Moroto and other district are currently doing a rapid food assessment exercise to ascertain the number of families in dire need of food following the prolonged drought.

What are these food supplements?

Super Cereal flour contains 25 kilograms of maize, blended with soya beans, fortified with vitamins and minerals. It has been used for the prevention and treatment of malnutrition from children above five years; also used for pregnant and lactating mothers.

It has also been used for nutritionally vulnerable groups especially for people living with HIV and tuberculosis. Super Cereal is manufactured in Belgium, Turkey and Italy.

Super Cereal Plus, a new brand, is a 1.5-kilogram pack of flour used to treat and prevent malnutrition among children aged 6- 59 months. It’s made of maize, soy, oil, milk powder and sugar, and fortified with vitamins and minerals. Super Cereal Plus is in manufactured in Rwanda, Belgium and Italy.

Ready- to- use Supplementary Food- RUSF is a 100 grams sachet of food used to treat moderate malnutrition among children aged 6- 59 months. It is made of chickpeas/ peanuts, soy, oil, milk powder, sugar, fortified with vitamins and minerals. RUSF is manufactured in France, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Kenya and South Africa.

Ministry of Health and WFP are yet to release findings into the food contamination that affected hundreds of people in Amudat and Napak districts. Even postmortem findings on the victims are yet to be known.