53 people have now been confirmed to have been affected by the Yellow Sisi waakye suspected poisoning incident at Oyibi in Greater Accra.
Following a joint investigation by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), it was discovered that 53 people who consumed waakye, or plain rice and tomato stew, from Yellow Sisi at Bush Canteen, an Oyibi suburb, had symptoms of a foodborne illness.
Following the report by Graphic Online, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) said in a statement dated Jan. 27, 2023, that it had been informed of the possible outbreak of a foodborne illness on Sunday, January 22, 2023, via its Food Safety Alert System.
It was reported to have happened in Oyibi, Adenta Municipality, Greater Accra Region.
According to the FDA, a joint investigation with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) began immediately in accordance with the Food Safety Emergency Response Plan.
Inappropriate food handling practises
“So far, one (1) person has been reported dead, but the exact cause of death has yet to be determined,” the statement continued.
“Environmental assessment of the food preparation site located at Malejor and the three vending sites at Bush Canteen, Prison Joint and Sharp Curve Joint revealed poor food handling practises which could have resulted in the contamination of the food, leading to the foodborne disease outbreak.
Suspension of Yellow SiSi operations
The FDA stated that Yellow Sisi’s operations have been stopped until measures to ensure that their activities are brought into compliance to prevent future occurrences are put in place.
According to Graphic Online’s Mary Anane Amponsah, the victims, who included the waakye seller known as Yellow Sisi and some of her family members, were rushed to Valley View Hospital, Oyibi Hospital, Dodowa Hospital, and other facilities after complaining of severe stomach aches after eating the food last week Friday (Jan 20, 2023).
Graphic learned that a pregnant woman and a lotto vendor were killed.
One of the most popular food joints at Oyibi Bush Canteen is the Yellow Sisi Waakye joint.
On Thursday, the Daily Graphic team went to check out the area, and they noticed that it was quiet and that the kiosk was locked.
Some shops near the food joint were also closed because it is believed that the shop owners, who also ate the food that day and suffered the side effects, were being treated in hospital.
Confirmation of incident
A number of patients were rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but “as of today, all the patients have been discharged,” an official said, when the Daily Graphic followed up with Valley View Hospital to get confirmation of the incident.
Officials at Valley View Hospital were unable to provide sufficient information about the number of people who may have been affected, only stating that the hospital’s data had been forwarded to the Kpone Katamanso District Hospital, where further investigation was underway to determine the cause of the problem.
Officials at the district hospital confirmed the story but stated that additional tests were being performed on patients to determine whether it was a case of food poisoning or something else.
“As of now, some other people are still visiting the hospital, and thus, until all the necessary laboratory tests are completed, we cannot give specific data on the number of people who have been affected or whether it was indeed a case of food poisoning,” Dr Esther Danquah of the district hospital told Graphic Online’s Mary Anane Amponsah.
Narration from a victim
One of the victims, identified as Justice Ankomah, stated that he began experiencing stomach ache and then diarrhoea later in the day, but did not consider it a “big deal” and treated himself with medication.
He did, however, point out that three other residents who operated shops around the joint and frequently patronised the waakye became very ill and were admitted to the hospital, and had not been able to return to open their shops for business since last Friday.
One of the deceased’s wives, who only gave her husband’s name as Kennedy to the Daily Graphic, revealed that her husband passed away last Monday at St. John’s Hospital in Amrahia after being rushed there after complaining of stomach pain and diarrhoea.
“He started complaining that Friday that he was not feeling well, but we thought it was a normal thing. “We rushed him to the hospital later when it became severe, but he did not survive,” the widow explained.
She later stated that they learned that many more people had been affected and were being treated at various hospitals throughout the community.
They, however, refused to speak to the Daily Graphic about the incident because the police were investigating.
Although there was confirmation that a case of food poisoning had been reported at the Oyibi Police Station, the police declined to brief the Daily Graphic team, instead directing them to seek further information from the police headquarters.
— Graphic Online
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