Fifty people (42 youth volunteers who are peer motivators in the groundBREAKER programme and eight loveLife staff trainers) have fallen ill after eating contaminated food at a training programme in the Free State for loveLife’s 2016 groundBREAKER (youth peer educator) recruits and all have received treatment. The groundBREAKERs are from the Free State and Northern Cape.

Three sick groundBREAKERs were airlifted and 17 transported by ambulance to three provincial hospitals; Bongani Hospital in Welkom and the Virginia and Winburg Hospitals. All delegates were successfully treated and have been discharged from hospital while the rest were treated on site.

.Delegates complained about stomach cramps after eating lunch on Monday, 6 March at the Aldam Resort and Conference Centre in Ventersburg. All 85 delegates were then medically attended to.All people attending the training session are safe. The 20 were collected and transported back to the resort after a day of treatment at the hospitals.

loveLife is providing counselling and support to all the delegates at the training and is communicating with the families of the victims. Counselling is also being offered to families through loveLife’s Contact Centre which is available by sending a Please Call Me (PLZ CAL ME) to 083 323 1023.The Department of Health has been called in to determine what caused the food poisoning.

“The safety of the groundBREAKERs and our staff is paramount so at this point we are attending to the well-being of the affected young people,” said loveLife Acting CEO Dr Lebo Maroo. “Health officials are keeping us updated and we will provide families with more information once the cause of the poisoning has been established.
“At this stage we do not know what caused the food poisoning but we assure the sick, their families and the public at large that we want a thorough investigation to ensure that this kind of incident does not happen again.”