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Waragi kills seven more
Publish Date: Sep 30, 2009
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By Ali Mambule and Steven Candia
SEVEN people have been confirmed dead and 11 hospitalised after consuming the prohibited potent gin (waragi), sold in sachets, on Ssese Islands.

This brings the national death toll as a result of the poisonous liquor to 40. The Ssese Islands deaths
occurred between September 11 and 25.

Kalangala district health inspector Edward Bugimbi on Tuesday said the latest victim was Jolam Kafeero of Bufumira landing site who was buried last Saturday. Other dead, he said, include Martin Okiror, whose body was taken to Soroti. Three of the victims were Kenyan nationals identified as Sande Othieno, Moses Okiror and another nicknamed Kanyama.

“We have got reports of 18 other deaths over the same cause in Gyana and Nkese landing sites but we have not confirmed them because the bodies were buried before we carried out postmortem examinations,” Bugimbi added.

He said they had been sensitising
people at all landing sites in Kalangala district to stop taking this type of waragi. “Some of them mixed different types of sachet waragi with local brew in a jerrycan.”

Bugimbi said they were now monitoring other notorious drunks with the help of their relatives. On September 4, the health ministry and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards banned the consumption and sale of waragi sold in sachets following the death of 19 people.

Tests showed that the killer spirit had been made from methanol, which is poisonous. The alarming situation has prompted the director general of health services, Dr. Zam Zaramba, to travel to Kalangala district to assess the situation.

Kalangala district medical officer, Dr. Hillary Bitakaramire, said Zaramba would sensitise fishermen and other islanders about the danger of consuming the deadly alcohol.

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