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Ministry of Health investigates death of woman

The family of a 56-year-old woman, who died a fortnight ago at Samoa's Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital in Apia, wants to know the cause of her death.

Reports have emerged that the woman could have died from food poisoning, but that is yet to be confirmed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) with an investigation currently underway. 

The husband of the deceased refused to comment when approached by the Samoa Observer, saying the newspaper should respect his family's privacy and they will only respond after the Ministry reports back on the findings of its inquiry. 

But according to a relative of the deceased, who did not want to be identified, the man and his late wife both suffered from food poisoning. 

"The deceased and her spouse were both affected from food poisoning...when the incident occurred, we were all in a time of mourning but then there was nothing we could do, we wanted to focus first on laying her to rest. 

"We laid her to rest last week and now that everything has been done, we are seeking answers from the MOH for further details on what food or other circumstances surrounding the cause of death," the relative said. 

The family is keen on getting the full details of the cause of death, the relative added, and are not sure on releasing any more information until they hear from the Ministry. 

"We are not trying to point fingers on who to blame, but we would like to understand what happened that has caused us to depart with a loved one."

The MOH Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, said he is not aware of the food poisoning allegations but the Ministry's surveillance unit is now investigating the matter. 

"I am not aware of any food poisoning case but there are rumors that there was a  casualty from fish poisoning. But I cannot confirm that but I have asked our surveillance people to do an audit if there is a case, we are going to find out.

"We have to look at the details because sometimes maybe the fish is okay but the way it was handled whether there were any contamination - this is why we need all the facts before we can respond.

"We cannot make assumptions – we also need to find out what kind of fish it was – that has caused the case of food poisoning," he added.

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