Police in Francistown have instituted an inquest into the death of a 9-year-old girl who is suspected to have died from Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs overdose allegedly administered by one of her parents.
Although he could not ascertain the cause of death, Superintendent Neo Serumola of Kutlwano Police Station confirmed that they have opened an inquest into the matter.
“The child was certified dead at Nyangabwe hospital and we hear from the streets that she died of ARV overdose, but we don’t have such evidence. Due to the child’s sudden death we have opened an inquest into the matter and we have brought in both parents of the little girl for questioning,” Serumola said.
Serumola further said preliminary investigations into the matter suggest that the child had been taken to Area W clinic the previous day as she was ill.
“Our inquest will establish what exactly caused the death of the child and if anyone should be held responsible,” he said.
Should the inquest indicate any foul play, Serumola says, they will lay charges against the suspect.
“However, we are appealing to anyone with information relating to the death of the little girl to come forward and avail themselves to our offices,” Serumola said and added that they have also taken samples from the deceased girl and sent them for forensic analysis.
Meanwhile, Ikageng ward Councilor- Sennye Matsoo, told of how on the fateful morning she received a distress call from members of the ward development committee asking her to take the girl to the hospital.
“Upon my arrival, I found a crowd gathered outside the house. Inside the house the mother was helplessly holding her unconscious daughter who was dressed in her school uniform,” related Matsoo.
The Councillor said she then asked some of the women to help the mother and her child into her car before they sped off to Area W clinic.
“Upon arrival I begged for a doctor to attend to the child and as he entered to attend to the patient, he indicated that the little girl was brought to the hospital the previous night but mysteriously disappeared,” she said.
“That was when we established that the girl had been taken to the clinic the previous night as she was vomiting excessively and having diarrhea. We also established that the girl was put on intravenous therapy (drip) and that later when the doctor returned from attending to another emergency, the child was nowhere to be found,” she said.
Councillor Matsoo further revealed that the girl’s parents stripped the drip off her and took her home while the doctor was still attending to the other emergency.
“While at the clinic the mother phoned the girl’s father, summoning him to come to the clinic as the little girl was critical. She also angrily asked him what he fed their daughter during her brief visit over to his place,” continued the councilor.
“This incident is so heart breaking. I personally landed in hospital because I was extremely stressed and emotional about this matter. I just couldn’t understand the motive and the reason why one would give an innocent child a handful of tablets and tell her to swallow an overdose,” quizzed Matsoo.