By Monsuru Olowoopejo
Lagos—Following the death of the third Queens College’s student, Praise Sodipo, after the diarrhea outbreak that hit the school, the Lagos State Government has said the students will undergo fresh medical tests to prevent more deaths, even as the school is to remain shut.
This development is coming as the Director of Education Quality Assurance, Federal Ministry of Education, was alleged to have delayed the report of the team that inspected the school few weeks before the outbreak.
Speaking after a closed- door meeting with representatives of the Federal Government, yesterday, the Queens College Principal and other stakeholders, Lagos State Commissioner for health, Dr. Jide Idris, explained that the test became necessary due to the multi-microbial nature of the disease that hit the elite school.
“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 said.
On the continued closure of the school, Idris said government was not satisfied with the series of tests carried out on the water facilities in the school yet.
He said: “I can’t tell you when the school will be opened, but I can tell you that for now, it will remain closed because the tests carried out on the water system in the school showed that there are still many organism, junks and with this, we can’t allow the school to reopen.
“When the students will resume largely depends on the positive result from the water system. So far, we have carried out laboratory test on five of their water sources. We are satisfied with three and until the remaining two are fully corrected, the school will remain closed,” the commissioner added.
While commiserating with families of the deceased, Idris further disclosed that the government will collect water samples from the community for test to prevent future outbreak in the vicinity.
FG explains reasons for diarrhea outbreak
Explaining circumstances that aided the outbreak of the disease, The Director of Basic and Secondary Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Jonathan Mbaka, lamented that when the previous principal was contacted, she denied the case.
He added that a report was submitted to his office but it was not copied to other departments within the ministry for appropriate action.
According to him, “I must confess that 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 department who didn’t pass the report to other departments in the ministry for appropriate action. He kept it in his office.
“Unfortunately, it was this week that I was able to lay my hands on that report. It was a little lapse on our part. But it is a procedural issue and when procedures have existed for too long, to change them becomes an issue. No one expected such to happen because other reports had been kept like that and nothing happened.”
Debunking the allegation that the apex government had neglected the Unity schools, Mbaka said “We have not neglected any school. The problem is the Nigerian factor. This is because every year, the government budget money for this school and it is disbursed to the principals.