TWENTY five members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church have been admitted at Gokwe District Hospital suffering from suspected food poisoning following a church gathering held over the weekend in Mapfungautsi, Gokwe North.
Chief Njelele, speaking from the hospital yesterday where he was visiting the sick, confirmed the incident that occurred in his area of jurisdiction.
He said the church members were being treated for food poisoning.
The chief said congregants fell ill after eating traditional food umxhanxa that had been cooked in a rusty three legged pot.
“I can confirm that 25 people from SDA church are being treated for food poisoning. It’s not like poison was laced in the food. No. But they cooked umxhanxa in a pot that was dirty. A pot that had rust,” he said.
Chief Njelele said some were seriously ill while others had been treated and discharged.
He said the church members met over the weekend in one of his villages under headman Mapfumo.
Midlands Provincial Medical Director (PMD) Dr Simon Nyadundu also confirmed the incident.
“The church members were admitted suffering from diarrhoea and abdominal pains,” he said.
According to a church member, umxhanxa was prepared on Friday for the church members who were having a Big Sabbath church gathering at one of the members’ homestead in Mapfungautsi.
She said since SDA members are not allowed to cook on Saturday – the Sabbath day – the umxhanxa was prepared on Friday but no one noticed that the pot that was used was rusty.
“Around lunch hour after the first service, church members sat down and shared the umxhanxa which had been prepared the previous day. Some have since been discharged while others are still admitted at Gokwe District Hospital,” said a female congregant on condition of anonymity.