The relatives of a former staff of Watoto Children`s Home in Omoro District are demanding investigations into her death.
Joyce Lamunu, 59, died at Watoto Children`s Home Laminadera after reportedly eating substances laced with poison and gross negligence from the management of the institution.
Lamunu had worked at Watoto Children`s Home Laminadera for thirteen years where she served as a mother and graduated to a senior mother.
According to reports from the family, the deceased did not have records of any health complications and had spoken to her daughter Joan Apiya on the day she died.
The family notes that in a recent conversation with the deceased, she had expressed worries that some children at the children`s home had been nabbed with toxic substances and threatened to kill some of their colleagues.
Andrew Otim, the deceased’s elder brother says that the management of Watoto Children`s Home never informed them about the demise of Lamunu on time but rather took her body to Gulu Independent Hospital in Gulu.
He further says that circumstances surrounding the death of Lamunu could be linked to suspected poisoning, following a postmortem report conducted on her body by a police pathologist at Gulu Central Police Station.
The deceased was scheduled to take her official leave on the same day she died.
However, her daughter Joan Apiya disclosed that during her last conversation with her mother on the phone she told her that she was denied her official leave by the management.
A report from Gulu Independent Hospital dated 15th June 2023 distances from the reports that Lamunu died at their health facility but rather brought dead on arrival and the body was treated six hours later.
‘’This client was brought dead on arrival and treatment of the body was done 6 hours later from arrival time with formalin.’’ Reads the medical report signed by Dr. Sserunkumsi, a medical officer at Gulu Independent Hospital. The doctor further recommended for a postmortem be done.
A postmortem report dated 14th June 2023 by pathologists headed by Dr. Onen J.J Olwedo, a Principal Medical Officer at Gulu Central Police Station which was seen by URN indicates that Lamunu had internal injuries and died of hemorrhagic shock.
According to the report, the deceased suffered internal injuries and presented a dark hemorrhagic stomach, bloody gastric content, and ruptured gastric and lower esophageal vessels.
It named that the cause of death was ruptured esophageal/gastric varices with profuse internal bleeding into the stomach causing hemorrhagic shock.
The postmortem report discloses that samples of blood, gastric content, liver, and kidney have been taken for toxicological studies by central government chemists.
The family members are now questioning why Lamunu was brought to the hospital late in the evening in her workstation’s staff van, yet they didn’t give her first aid or even made early communication to the family or a report to the police.
Nancy Lalweny, the sister of the deceased says that they want the cause of the death to be established adding that any ill intention should be addressed in the courts of law.
Joan Apiya, the deceased`s daughter recalls her last conversation with her mother before her death but she sounded healthy and never complained until late in the evening when she heard of her death.
Francis Ocan, the deceased’s brother, and Tonny Okot who is a son of the late say that the death should be investigated since there is a lot of contradicting information regarding the death.
On Friday, the management of Watoto Church issued a statement through Watoto Church Communications Team Leader, Esther Agwang regretting the death of Lamunu.
They maintained that she died while being rushed to Gulu Independent Hospital by the medical personnel for further medical attention soon after she had started feeling unwell.
“The Watoto Family is deeply saddened by the death of Mother Joyce Lamunu, which occurred on Tuesday, 13th June 2023 as she was being rushed to Gulu Independent Hospital by the personnel for further medical attention soon after she started feeling unwell,” reads in part a Friday, June 23 statement by the Watoto’s Head of Communication, Esther Agwang.
They added that they have requested the police and the authorities to independently conduct a postmortem to establish the cause of the death and make appropriate recommendations in line with their findings.
“We have requested police and the authorities to independently conduct a postmortem to establish the cause of death and to make appropriate recommendations in line with their findings,” the statement adds.
David Ongom Mudong, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson said that a case of sudden death is being investigated by the police in Omoro district vide DIF 02/2023.
He added that statements have been recorded, and some samples of food have been taken to the Government Analytical Laboratory for analysis.
Lamunu is expected to be buried in Kanyagoga ‘’A’’ Cell in Bardege-Layibi division, Gulu City on Saturday.