Four members of the same family, including an 18-year-old pregnant woman, have died while two others are admitted to Shangombo District Hospital after eating nshima suspected to have been poisoned. They ate the nshima with a local vegetable called sindambi.
The incident happened on Sunday around 21:00 hours in Shalitata village, Shangombo district. Western Province Commissioner of Police Charles Lungu named the dead as 18-year-old Susan Pelekelo and her siblings Mukubelo, 9, Njamba, 6, and three-year-old Sofia. Mr Lungu said in an interview yesterday that those admitted to hospital are Ngebe Pelekelo, 6, and two-year-old Monde Pumulo.
“We received a report of suspected poisoning in Shangombo district where four members of the same family died after eating nshima suspected to have been poisoned. “Two others who ate the same food are admitted to the district hospital,” he said. Mr Lungu said police have collected samples of the foodstuff to determine the kind of poison which could have caused the deaths.
Police have launched investigations into the matter to establish the source of the food. Meanwhile, the number of people suffering from diarrhoea after consuming suspected contaminated water in some parts of Lusaka has reduced following heightened sensitisation on the need for residents to drink boiled or chlorinated water.
Some Lusaka residents have suffered various stomach ailments after drinking suspected contaminated water allegedly supplied by the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company. The Zambia Public Health Institute established that the water was contaminated as a result of faecal matter slipping into the water reticulation system.
A check by the Daily Mail at Malata Health Post established that the number of people seeking treatment for diarrhoea had reduced.
Malata Health Post sister-in-charge Saviour Soko said the health facility received over 100 people seeking treatment for diarrhoea over the past two weeks. Mrs Soko, however, said the number has steadily reduced over the past two days with less than 20 people showing symptoms of diarrhoea.
“As of today [yesterday], we have collected only two samples of stool which will be sent for tests at the University Teaching Hospital,” she said.
Mrs Soko said there has been enhanced sensitisation in affected areas with staff going into communities to educate residents about consuming properly treated water.
She said workers at the health centre have been distributing chlorine to people in affected areas to enable them to disinfect water while telling the residents to boil or chlorinate it even if it is for brushing teeth. Hilltop Hospital medical doctor-in-charge Kabangu Kayembe said the institution treated some people who suffered from diarrhoea in the past two weeks.
Dr Kayembe said as at yesterday, the hospital had not received any patients suffering from diarrhoea. “We treated about 20 people last week, the last two days we have not received any patients. We treated them and we did not know what was causing the illness but we were informed about the water contamination,” he said.