Some of the infected students started stooling and vomiting on Sunday and in the process, an SS1 student, Peace K. Adamu was rushed to a private clinic, and died. Later on Monday, 57 of the students were admitted at the Kawo General Hospital while six were admitted on Tuesday morning. The school authorities had earlier asked some students to go home to meet their parents for proper care.
The Commissioner for Education, Ja’afaru Sani, confirmed the death of Peace on Sunday.
Our reporter visited the school on Monday, and observed that the level of hygiene and sanitation in the school was very poor, particularly around the toilet, and close to one of the wells. Some students were seen fetching water from one of the wells.
An SS 2 student who was among those admitted in hospital said: “Access to safe drinking water is a big challenge in the school. We don’t have water, sometimes we go far to fetch water. Our toilets too are very bad and that is why some of us defecate outside. In fact, some defecate in polythene bags and throw it away. Because of the lack of water and poor hygiene, menstruation while in school is a difficult task. The toilets, too, cannot be clean when there is no water.”
Another student also stressed the need for more hygiene and sanitation in the school kitchen, saying sometimes, they see maggots and cockroaches in their food.
Corroborating the students’ views, the Deputy Director of Disease Control, Kaduna North Local Government, Ibrahim L. Suleiman, attributed the outbreak to poor hygiene as a result of open defecation close to the students’ source of drinking water. He said the toilets were in bad state, which according to him was as a result of lack of water. He added that his agency has administered drugs to infected students, with more supplied to the school clinic to handle emergency cases.
Cartons of chlorine were provided for treating the water sources, while all the students were asked not to drink from all the wells within, and outside the school.
But it appears there is still some danger looming, as some students told Daily Trust that they still drink water from the well, as water from the borehole is equally in poor state. “We suspect that the tank where the water is stored is rusty, which makes it appear brownish. So, it is better we drink the well water,” they said.
Director of Public Health, Ado Zakari, and other medical personnel as well officials of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) gave health talks to the students on the importance of hygiene.
Sani, the Commissioner for Education, said: “Last weekend, because of the epileptic power supply we are experiencing in the area, some of the motorized boreholes malfunctioned and that led some of the students to use the alternative wells we have in the school. We suspect that it is from these wells that some of them got infected. We have directed the principal of the school not to compromise in any way in maintaining high standard of hygiene among students. We have also instructed the school management to ensure that all the toilets are kept clean so as to avoid open defecation.” He also assured parents, guardians, and the general public that the situation was under control.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Paul Dogo, said aid agencies and medical experts were supporting the state government in its effort to control the epidemic.
Medical Director of Kawo General Hospital, Dr. Oyelami Akintunde, told Daily Trust Saturday that the students admitted had recovered and had been discharged. According to him, 42 infected students were admitted on Monday and by Monday night, 15 were brought and placed on admission while six more were admitted on Tuesday morning. “They’ve all recovered and are stable,” he said.