TRAGEDY struck the Nyazura community last week as one person died while 40 others required urgent medical attention following suspected food poisoning at a funeral.
Mr William Mubvumbi (now late) was among 50 villagers who were preparing the grave for the late Mr Emas Chiwanza when they were served sadza and beef stew which had been stored in some plastic containers.
The food had been prepared in Odzi about 42km away where Mr Chiwanza was initially supposed to be buried.
While Makoni District police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Muzondiwa Clean said no report was made, the Chiwanzwa family confirmed the incident and dismissed foul play.
Acting Makoni District Medical Officer, Dr Hospea Maringe also confirmed the incident.
“We attended to the body of William Mubvumbi who died on his way to Rusape General Hospital. We collected samples which we will forward to pathologists who will determine the type of poison that claimed his life. Food poison is broad and the specialists will determine whether it was chemical, bacterial or something else.
“The other 12 affected people who came on Saturday were treated and discharged on Sunday. They were all stable,” said Dr Maringe.
The Manica Post understands that after eating the contaminated food, mourners started having stomach aches.
Others were vomiting and throwing up.
The late Mr Mubvumbi had severe symptoms and died on his way to the hospital.
Mr Mubvumbi’s uncle, Mr Bonus Chadereka said his family is devastated by the death of their loved one.
“Last Saturday morning, Mr Mubvumbi left for the Chiwanza funeral. He was among the grave diggers which comprised fellow community members and some Chiwanza relatives. They were served some food and he later started complaining of a stomach ache.
“He came back home and did not sleep well due to the stomach pains. His condition deteriorated last Sunday morning as he was no longer speaking. We hired a vehicle to ferry him to Rusape General Hospital, but unfortunately he died on the way.
“We inquired what had really transpired and we learnt that more members of the community were complaining of stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhoea. The villagers told us that they started experiencing this after eating food at the grave site.
“About 40 people needed urgent attention, 12 were rushed to Rusape General Hospital and the rest were treated at Nyazura Clinic. Post mortem was done on Mr Mubvumbi and the doctor confirmed the cause of death as food poisoning. He was buried in Manica Bridge, Muchinguri Village,” said Mr Chadereka.
The Chiwanza family spokesperson, Mr Collin Chiwanza, said the food was not supposed to be in a plastic container.
“Our relative, Mr Emas Chiwanza passed on at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare and the initial plan was to bury him at his homestead in Odzi. His body was first ferried to Odzi last Friday and we spent the night there, but as someone who was raised in Nyazura, the family later made changes for him to buried at the family cemetery in Nyazura. An arrangement was made for some people to travel in advance and prepare the grave in Nyazura.
“Naturally, members of the community came to assist in preparing the grave. Food was prepared for the grave diggers, unfortunately the beef stew was put in a plastic bucket and sealed to avoid spilling it on its way to Nyazura.
“From what we have learnt, the food was not supposed to be in a plastic container, and delays in serving it rendered it poisonous. More than 50 people, including Emas’ son, consumed the food. In fact, the person who was serving the food is among those affected. We mourn with the Mubvumbi family over the loss of their relative,” said Mr Chiwanza.
— Manica Post