POOR SANITATION

State confirms food poisoning at Mukumu Girls, Butere Boys

Health CS rules out outbreak of cholera based on preliminary findings.

In Summary
  • Nakhumicha said preliminary investigations from samples sent to Kemri in Kisumu tested positive for bacterial infections linked to gastroenteritis.
  • The CS directed the school principal Lorna Ndolo to immediately improve sanitation levels in the kitchen and dining hall.
Students and teachers of Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls High School at the Kakamega County General Teaching and Referral Hospital on March 28, 2023.
FOOD CONTAMINATION: Students and teachers of Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls High School at the Kakamega County General Teaching and Referral Hospital on March 28, 2023.
Image: FILE

Health CS Susan Nakhumicha Wafula has confirmed that contamination of food and water at Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls in Kakamega led to the death of two students.

The CS said preliminary investigations from samples sent to the Kenya Medical Research Institute laboratory in Kisumu tested positive for bacterial infections linked to gastroenteritis (a bacterial infection that causes diarrhoea and vomiting).

She said some students had been infected with salmonella typhii (a bacteria that causes typhoid) and amebiasis (a parasitic infection of the intestines that causes stomach pain and diarrhoea). Many learners at both schools had complained of diarrhoea, vomiting and fever.

Nakhumicha, who was accompanied by Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang, however, ruled out an outbreak of cholera based on the preliminary findings.

Also affected were students from Butere Boys where students  experienced vomiting. Both Mukumu Girls and Butere Boys have been closed but the officials said they will be reopened immediately after the Easter holidays.

“We have taken more samples of food and water to the government chemist in Kisumu and to the National Public Health Laboratories in Nairobi for further investigation,” the CS said. 

The officials, who made an extensive tour of the school and the main storage reservoir at a stream from where the water is pumped from suspect contamination at source.

Nakhumicha said a high level public health technical team, led by the director of National Public Health Institute and disease surveillance Dr Francis Kuria, has been constituted to immediately carry out inspections and make recommendations on how to improve hygiene in the school.

“The team will work with a multi-agency team from both national and county government” she said. 

The CS directed the school principal Lorna Ndolo to immediately improve sanitation levels in the kitchen and dining hall, adding that her ministry has reviewed guidelines on handling of food in schools that will be enforced.

Kipsang said the ministry will not hesitate to take further action on school managers if it is established that they may have been negligent.

Earlier, the CS and PS and other senior government officials visited nine students of Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls still admitted at Kakamega Teaching and Referral Hospital, where the doctor in charge, Dr Barbra Murila, said they had shown great improvement.

“Seventeen others are admitted at Mukumu Mission hospital," she said. 

 

(edited by Amol Awuor)

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star