Members of Parliament have requested practical solutions from the Health Ministry and the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) to reduce the growing burden of cancer caused by fungal toxins known as aflatoxins.
During a meeting with officials from the ministry and the institute, Mr. Samuel Acuti Opio (Kole North), the deputy chairperson of Parliament’s Health committee, inquired about awareness campaigns aimed at educating the public about aflatoxins. These toxins can contaminate specific agricultural foods and lead to diseases like liver cancer.
Mr. Opio expressed concern about the exposure of children to aflatoxins through common daily foods such as maize, fruits, milk, and eggs. He emphasized the need for more action on managing and preventing aflatoxin-related health risks, citing a gap between available research and practical measures.
Mr. Andrew Ojok Oulanyah (Omoro) also questioned the officials about their efforts to address the rising cases of liver cancer at the Uganda Cancer Institute. In response, State Minister for Primary Healthcare, Ms. Margaret Muhanga, confirmed that aflatoxins are responsible for approximately one in four cases of liver cancer, making it the seventh most common cancer in Uganda.
Ms. Muhanga revealed that UCI receives between 170 and 200 liver cancer cases annually, with an estimated 48 to 56 cases attributed to aflatoxin exposure.