30 March 2013

Uganda: Risky Dead Meat Selling On the Market

Kampala — Dead meat with serious health risks has infiltrated city markets and the suburbs. Several stalls suspected to sell dead meat in Kampala have been closed by city authorities and the owners arrested.

Dead meat means that meat got from dead animals.

Several places in Mengo and Ndeeba city suburbs have been affected, according to Jacob Lukambuzi, KCCA's head of monitoring and inspection unit.

The operation is expected to continue even after the festive season of Easter, Lukambuzi said. According to health experts, dead meat causes brucellosis, a disease that spreads like a wild fire and is expensive to treat.

Dr. Peter Bukenya of Nagalama Hospital said many people today go for treatment thinking they are suffering from malaria or typhoid, but when in fact it is brucellosis.

Brucellosis - an infection that affects mainly animals - is caused by bacteria from the genus Brucella.

Humans develop brucellosis when they come into contact with contaminated animals or animal products.

Dr. Anthony Mbonye, the commissioner for health services, said there is over-diagnosis of brucellosis because most health workers have limited knowledge about the disease.

He said it takes one week to treat the disease.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), brucellosis occurs in regions with less established animal disease-control programmes and in areas where public health initiatives are less effective.

Behind 'tinted windows'

To reach the urban markets, dead meat is reportedly smuggled from rural areas where traders go hunting for it. Meat from dead animals has a ready market among butchers and the public.

A source that preferred anonymity said smuggling dead meat is easy in Uganda because there are few Government veterinary officers in rural areas.

Lukambuzi said most of the illegal meat is transported 'using cars with tinted windows'.

At the moment, the KCCA team is combing the city for the illegal meat stalls, where dead meat stands a chance of being dumped.

This week, KCCA, working on a tip-off, trailed three tinted saloon cars reportedly carrying dead meat and intercepted them on Namirembe Road when off-loading it.

The four people who were found off-loading the meat at Ddumba Quality Butchery were arrested and they confessed before the Police that they had skinned three dead cows from Namayumba in Wakiso.

Police identified them as William Ntanda, Dumba Nsubuga, Godfrey Yawe and Patrick Kaddu. The suspects said the meat was to be sold to dog owners.

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