Child dies after eating cassava leaf meal in Aweil

A child has reportedly died of food poison on Wednesday in Aweil Centre, Northern Bhar El Gahzal state after eating pondu  (cooked cassava leaves) which his mother prepared for meal.

The mother and her three children cooked and ate the cassava leaves together. Immediately after eating, they both began experiencing health complication which later led to the death of the eldest child  before they could reach the hospital for medical attention.

“The mother went to the forest where she brought the cassava leaves and cooked it and after the children ate it, they started feeling dizzy and couldn’t move on their own. When rushed to the health center, one died on the way leaving the two behind. The mother was also poisoned but hers was better because we managed to do some very fast response locally that helps her survive.” William Amet Geng, uncle of the children narrated.

Lino Panjap, doctor at Bar Mayen Primary health care unit said  the medical examination indicates that the food was the caused of their sickness and eventually the death of her 11 years elder son, Akon Machar Geng.

“It happened on Wednesday that we received three children aged 11, 7 and 4 that were poisoned after they have eaten cassava leaves that was cooked by their mother, the elder one died before reaching us here and the other two are now have recovered and discharged, I believed the food was not well cooked” said Dr. Panjap.

Medical researchers revealed that both Cassava roots and leaves are energy-rich food for millions of people in over 80 countries of the world including South Sudan.

However, it has nutritional shortcomings because of its toxicity which its produce through its two cyanogenic glucosides: linamarin and lotaustralin, and that’s what make it poisonous.

Cassava cyanogenic glycosides contain chemicals that can be broken down to release hydrogen cyanide. This cyanide stops your body’s cells from using oxygen and this can kills the cells. When the cells die, the person die immediately.

These effects cannot stop you from eating cassava products –roots or leaves.

Do these to remove the poison from cassava leaves or the root to make it your delicious food.

1 Boil the leaves until the green color turns to dark army green.

2 Discard the water after boiling the leaves.

3 Boil, bake, roast, or fry it until it is tender and very well-cooked.