Rundu — Swapo Party Women's Council secretary Fransina Kahungu has called on Namibians to support Kayova's grief-stricken family, who have since Sunday morning lost about 13 people to date after eating dinner at their homestead.
The food was consumed on Saturday evening, and the first two deaths were recorded in the wee hours of Sunday morning at Nyangana district hospital - and since then, the death toll has been increasing.
According to information at hand, it is alleged that some family members from the affected homestead went to work to cut reeds for someone, and they were paid with the traditional brew mahangu residue, which they then pounded to make flour and cooked a meal that the family consumed.
They later started reacting to what they ate and were rushed to the hospital.
"The Swapo Party Women's Council, as a unit of women of the ruling party, has learnt with shock and sadness of the untimely death and passing of the residents of the Kayova village in Ndiyona Constituency in the Kavango East Region," Kahungu noted.
The SPWC further urged all community members, the business fraternity, political parties, non-governmental organisations, the community and churches to assist the family during this difficult time.
"The loss of a loved one and a human life is not only painful to the family and friends but to the nation at large. This is more so considering the manner in which their lives have been lost. As the SPWC, we send out or heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. May the Lord console the family and all Namibians as we stand together during this difficult time," she said.
The ministry of health on Tuesday released a statement, which indicates that the affected 17 members of the homestead were presented at Nyangana District Hospital, Kavango East, on 27 May 2023, with signs and symptoms of food poisoning. Due to their critical illness, 13 people were referred to the Rundu Intermediate Hospital.
Unfortunately, 13 people died. Two of them passed away at Nyangana District Hospital and the rest died on different dates between Sunday and Tuesday at the Rundu Intermediate Hospital.
"All the patients are being monitored closely. Additional blood samples were also taken for alcohol poisoning testing. The ministry has deployed a team of social workers to provide psychosocial support and counselling to the bereaved family," said the ministry of health executive director Ben Nangombe in a statement on Tuesday.
"Officials from the ministry will provide health education to members of the community on food preparation practices and the dangers of mixing food with potentially contaminated materials," Nangombe said.