Barely two weeks after resumption, there is a panic at Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos, over disease outbreak, which is said to have affected hundreds of students.
A parent told Daily Sun that the health crisis might not be unconnected with the poor drinking water reservoir, contaminated foods and the unhygienic toilets in the unity school.
There was an epidemic in the school in 2017, which claimed three children as a result of infection.
The Parents Teacher Association (PTA) Chairman, John-Alfred Ofobike, said not less than 900 students have been withdrawn on health ground, in the last two weeks of resumption. He said though students were apparently infected, he could not categorically state the exact ailment they were suffering from.
He said he was at the school on Sunday and met many children sick. He expressed fear that it was an epidemic due to the increasing number of students that were going home.
He said between 700 and 900 students have been so far withdrawn by their parents.
But the principal, Mrs. Tokunbo Yukubu-Oyinloye, who spoke with the reporter on the telephone, countered the claim.
“We don’t have any outbreak in our school. What is happening to the students is just a normal flu because of the cold weather. Our doctor, Ojo, would have given you the details now but he is busy with some government officials,” she said.
But a parent of one of the students said: “I met many students at the sickbay and many also waiting to see the doctor. This aroused my curiosity as a medical practitioner and a public health specialist. I decided to do some findings.
“I spoke with the doctor and the matron; interviewed the students on the sickbay and also observed clinically most of the students who were going home. l want to say this with every sense of responsibility and professionalism that there is no outbreak of any epidemic in Queen’s College.
“Most of the students presently are with cough, catarrh, fever and body pain. This is an airborne disease and can be transmitted through coughing and sneezing. All parents should calm down because it is not a major medical issue.”
The expert pointed out that it was not all the students that were going home that were clinically sick, but because of the past experience and inadequate medical staff and ill-equipped sickbay.
Chief spokesperson for the school, Mr. Adewale Adeyanju, corroborated the principal’s submission that a team of health practitioners from the Lagos State Ministry of Health, yesterday, stormed the school to carry out on-the-spot assessment. He reiterated that there was no cause for alarm, saying there were less than five students at the sickbay as at yesterday.
“There is nothing like disease outbreak. Officials from ministry of health are here as l speak to ascertain what led to the few people that fell ill. It was discovered that some of them had mild fever, which might have started from their homes before resumption.
“Another thing is when one student is given clearance to go home for any minor illness, other students will start coming forward to also want to go home for similar ailment,” he said.
A parent of an SS two student said his daughter was rushed home on September 28 having been struck with an infection in her private part.
He said he had advised the management of the school to ask the students to vacate the school premises, for at least two weeks, in order to enable proper management of the health crisis, but his advice fell on deaf ears.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the PTA chairman and the principal have been having a running battle that is yet to be resolved.