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Wednesday,August 12,2020 23:18 PM

Sachet waragi banned

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th September 2009 03:00 AM

The manufacture and sale of all sachet waragi has been banned in a crackdown on the poisonous alcohol that has claimed at least 19 lives.

The manufacture and sale of all sachet waragi has been banned in a crackdown on the poisonous alcohol that has claimed at least 19 lives.

By Anne Mugisa

The manufacture and sale of all sachet waragi has been banned in a crackdown on the poisonous alcohol that has claimed at least 19 lives.

In addition, the Government has suspended all waragi manufacturers and ordered them to apply afresh for a license.

The ban was announced yesterday by the Ministry of Health and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) at a press conference in Kampala.

Banned are also other alcoholic drinks packed in polythene bags, commonly called buveera.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Stephen Mallinga, said apart from the 19 deaths, at least 27 people were admitted in various hospitals as a result of drinking waragi.

Some of the survivors have had their eye sight impaired, with one person has become blind. The others, he said, are still being treated but the medics are not yet sure if their sight will be recovered.

Mallinga said the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) had also started investigations into the poisonous waragi and those who are behind its production will be prosecuted

The minister confirmed that the people who made the waragi used methanol to increase its potency.

A high content of methanol was found in the blood samples of the victims and organs of the dead.

The Uganda National Bureau of Standards announced that the new control measures would start immediately. They apply to the 23 big alcohol manufacturers, including Uganda Breweries, Premier Distillers and West Nile Distillers.

Before being re-registered to manufacture alcohol, the UNBS will inspect their premises to ensure they the have capacity to produce, store and identify the products that will be produced. This also applies to imported raw materials and additives.

The manager for quality assurance at UNBS, Patrick Ssekitoleko, said all importers of chemicals would have to register their buyers.

An investigation team, led by the Ministry of Health, visited the different areas where the waragi-related deaths were reported.

They include Kamengo in Mpigi district and Nakulabye-Kiwuunya in Kampala.

The waragi sachets so far tested had very high levels of methanol, health ministry officials said.

Mallinga said the Government would reactivate the Enguli Act, which prohibits the consumption of unprocessed waragi and sets stringent measures for the handling and packaging of alcohol.

In addition, a regulatory framework for industrial and consumable chemicals will be established.

He said the banning of the sachets of alcohol is aimed at limiting access by underage people.

Sachet waragi banned

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