TWENTY-TWO villagers from the Hwakwata area in Chipinge have been admitted to St Peter’s Mission Hospital in Checheche following suspected food poisoning.
REPORT BY OBEY MANAYITI
Fellow villagers said the 22 started complaining of stomach aches soon after drinking suspected poisoned maheu, a traditional nutritious non-alcoholic drink, prepared by a fellow villager on Saturday. They were initially rushed to a local clinic before being transferred to St Peter’s Mission after their condition continued to deteriorate.
Although Manicaland police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Luxon Chananda said he was unaware of the matter, villagers said the affected community members drank the suspected poisoned maheu during a community working party known as nhimbe in Shona.
“The 22 villagers were at a nhimbe at Musaingana Muyambo’s homestead on Saturday where they were contributing labour in the fields,” a villager, Muridzo Chalusi, told NewsDay yesterday.
“Since then they have been complaining about stomach problems and today (yesterday) they were advised to seek medication. The situation turned critical and they could not do anything for themselves. We were just giving them water while waiting for an ambulance from St Peter’s Mission Hospital.”
The source of the poison could not be ascertained.
Some villagers interviewed by NewsDay disclosed that the victims could not be attended to at Hwakwata Clinic since the nurse-in-charge was not present.
“The victims were then taken to St Peter’s Mission Hospital later in the afternoon, but their condition was still critical,” Muridzo said.
Efforts to get a comment from officials at St Peter’s Mission Hospital and the provincial medical director’s office were fruitless.