Three persons including a pregnant woman are reported dead as a result of suspected food poisoning in Bankpama, a community in the Wa West district of the Upper West region.
According to family sources, on the night of 10th January, 2020 the 33 year old pregnant mother in the company of four other members of her household attended a “community party” at neighbouring Motori where they were served jollof rice. Back home the next morning, the mother prepared “Sawala” (a local dish made of roasted corn & oil) for herself and her two children (all deceased now). Shortly after, the mother and the two children fell ill and were rushed to the Wa West district hospital where they all passed on.
Administrator at the Wa West District Hospital confirmed the story to W93.5fm but said “investigation is still in progress “. However, a preliminary report compiled by the District Health Directorate in collaboration with key stakeholders such as the Food and Drugs Authority and security agencies suggest “seizure, disorder, severe bacterial infection and food poisoning” as the probable cause of death of the three.
The report further indicated that about hundred people ate “the jollof rice” at the said party and out of the five household members who attended the party at Motori, four ate the jollof rice that was served and three out of the four also ate the sawala that was prepared the next day. The one person who did not eat any of the above mentioned foods has no problem, the one who ate only the jollof has no problem too. Unfortunately all three persons who ate both rice and “sawala” fell ill and later died.
The report further indicated that samples of the jollof rice from the party, samples of the “sawala”, samples of the roasted corn & shea butter used in preparing the “sawala” have been taken for further investigations by the Food and Drugs Authority.
The deceased persons have since been buried according to the traditions of the people of Bankpama amidst controversy over the cause of death. While some people claim there was a meal in between the jollof rice and Sawala, others simply believe that the poisoning was unintentional. The community is however calm with several sympathisers trooping in to mourn with the bereaved family.