- Published on Sunday, 14 July 2013 03:15
- Written by ANTHONY TAMBWE
- Hits: 1003
EXPERTS have allayed beliefs that bathroom and toilet accidents, which in most cases result in serious injuries or death, are linked to witchcraft.
For quite some time now, bathroom and toilet accidents have led to serious fatalities, leading Tanzanians and Africans in the larger parts of East Africa to believe that there are dark powers looming in these enclosures.
Giving living examples, some of the Dar es Salaam residents interviewed by this paper said that according to their experience, in rare cases does one escape serious injuries after falling in the bathroom or toilet, while others brushed it off as mere accidents which can occur anywhere.
“Three years ago, a neighbour of mine died on the spot after falling in the bathroom while taking a shower, and a year later my brother-in-law also died after suffering from a similar fate,” said Filipo Siraju, a resident of Tegeta on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.
He said that with the death of the neighbour, he ruled it as a normal accident, but after his brother-in-law died in similar circumstances, he started having serious worries. He told our reporter that after the two deaths, he got to learn of similar deaths which occurred in the same fashion, and a relative later informed him that in most cases, these deaths are related to dark forces.
Sarah Kimani, a Kenyan expatriate living in Kawe area in Dar es Salaam says that two years ago a friend of hers came from Nairobi to visit her, but two days later she died after slipping and falling in the bathroom. She says that on that fateful day, her friend woke up in jovial moods, and before having breakfast, she went to take a bath, but a few minutes later they heard a loud thud, and when she went to inquire, she found her friend unconscious on the bathroom floor.
“I was really scared that day, and I rushed to one of my neighbours who is a pastor, and she said that there are spirits which caused the accident, and assured her that after intensive prayers she will recover consciousness,” Miss Kimani said. She said that after a lengthy prayer from the pastor, the condition of her friend remained critical, and by the time they decided to rush her to the nearest hospital, she died on the way.
However, Mary Mosha, a health and nutrition expert said that people who suffer serious injuries or lose life, in most cases are people who in one way or another have health problems. She ruled out traditional beliefs associated to these fatalities, saying that there are several factors which can contribute to death or permanent injuries after falling in the bathroom.
Dr Amos Mwakilasa, a retired Medical doctor and a private consultant, concurred with Miss Mosha, saying that in most cases unchecked high blood pressure can be the major cause. He said that after a person falls in the bathroom or anywhere else, the head can suffer from brain concussion, where the brain is shaken and the victim loses consciousness.
“The worst case scenario is when the victim suffers a brain contusion, which in this case means that the brain of that person starts bleeding, which in turns forms blood clot which applies pressure to the brain,” he said. He said that the bleeding in the brain can be gradual, and after some time the pressure in the brain increases, causing the victim to lose consciousness immediately followed by death.
Dr Mwakilasa said that in some cases, when the victim answers a call of nature in the toilet, more strain might be applied if the stool is hard, which is termed as Embolus, which is the presence of solid fat or blood clot, and which in turn blocks some veins in the heart or lungs, causing the victim to lose consciousness. “Some instances of toilet-related deaths are attributed to the drop in blood pressure due to the parasympathetic nervous system during bowel movements.
This effect may be magnified by existing circulatory issues,” added Dr Mwakilasa. He said it is further possible that people succumb on the toilet to chronic constipation, because the Valsalva manoeuvre is often dangerously used to aid in the expulsion of faeces from the rectum during a bowel movement.
Valsalva manoeuvre is performed by moderately forceful attempted exhalation against a closed airway, usually done by closing one’s mouth, pinching one’s nose shut while pressing out as if blowing up a balloon. However, Salim Bahwariz, a Turkish home appliances exporter, said that most of the bathroom accidents are caused by slippery, wet floors.
He said that tiles which are put in bathrooms in most houses are not ideal for the purpose, because most of them are smooth, saying that soapy water when someone is taking a bath can cause an accident. “Tiles which are ideal for toilets and bathrooms are supposed to be coarse, which offers more grip to the bare feet, and even if there is soapy water on the floor, chances of slipping and falling are slim,” he said.