Lagos State Government yesterday insisted on continuous closure of Queen’s College, Lagos, where three students of the schools recently lost their lives due to outbreak of diarrhea in the school..
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris who revealed this after a meeting with officials of the Federal Ministry of Education and the school authority in Alausa, said the school cannot be reopened because the water sample from one of the multiple water delivery points still poses concern with regards to safety and portability.
Idris said there are five water sources in the school of which had been certified alright while the remaining two sources still poses serious danger.
“To be specific, water samples from the delivery points to Junior and Senior students hostels conform to official specifications, while there is need for additional decontamination of the reticulation to the kitchen and the sink bay.”
The commissioner explained that because of the polymicrobial nature of this occurrence, continuous screening, follow up and monitoring will continue for all students and staff of the school.
He directed all proprietors of schools to ensure, adequate environmental sanitation and hygiene within the school premises and Provision of safe water, appropriate refuse disposal.
Idris also stressed that all kitchen staff and school food vendors should undergo food handlers test’s biannually as well as continuous monitoring of water and sewage treatment plants.
He said the government regrets the unfortunate incident especially the deaths recorded and hereby commiserates with the parents on the painful losses and the hardship faced by survivors.
“You may recall that I did mention during the first press briefing that the disease was due to contamination of the multiple sources of water in the school with various micro-organisms. I am delighted to inform you that the sources of contamination have been largely removed,” Idris said.
According to him, the school authority in collaboration with Parents Teachers Association, Old Girls Association and the Federal Ministry of Education, is speedily addressing identified areas of lapses.
He listed the identified areas of intervention to include, decommissioning of the multiple contaminated water sources, deployment of a single water source with water treatment, renovation of the dining hall, decontamination of the hostels and overhauling of the sewage system and clearance of the septic tanks,
The school Principal, Mrs. Abiola Are said provision has been made to ensure that the junior and senior secondary school students seat for their ongoing WAEC examination.
She said the senior students presently come from homes adding that inspection team is in place to check the water and food that they come into the school with.
“Our junior students exam will be in April and by then am sure we would have been able to resolve all this issues.
A director Federal ministry of Education, Also Mr. Jonathan Nbaka, said the government is doing all it can to resolve the situation.
“When the issue came to limelight, the principal denied the case that nothing happened. And after we deployed another principal, it was revealed that the school was in crisis.
“The challenge we have had was that the fact wasn’t coming to the Federal Government as expected. I can inform you that I have visited the school over three times.
He said there was a little lapse on the report filed by the Education Quality Assurance team sent prior to the outbreak. “The report was submitted to the director of that ministry. But the director didn’t pass the report to other department in the ministry for appropriate action.
“Unfortunately, it was this week that I was able to lay my hands on that report. It is a little lapse on our part. But it is procedural issue and when procedures have existed too long, to change it becomes an issue.”