Mukumu Girls set to reopen on May 2 after raft of changes made

Education CS Ezekiel Machogu and Higher Education PS Dr Beatrice Muganda Inyangala at Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls High School on April 15, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

A multi-agency committee constituted to implement recommendations by the Ministry of Health at Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls High School has reported progress.

So far, the team chaired by Western Regional Commissioner Irungu Macharia has sank a borehole and installed a water purifier that will guarantee availability of clean drinking water when the school re-opens on May 2.

The committee has also emptied all grain stores at the school and is prepared to dispose of maize, rice and beans that were condemned by a team from the Health ministry. The officials visited the school days after three students and a teacher died from a disease linked to contaminated water and food.

Officers from the works department advised the committee to remove old iron sheets from at least six buildings at the school because they were deemed a health hazard.

According to Macharia, learners will report in phases, starting with Form Four students on May 2. 

Form Three learners will report on May 4, followed by Form Two students a day later with Form Ones expected to report on May 8.

The committee has also made arrangements to have all the students undergo mandatory testing on reporting day before they are allowed in class. 

Macharia disclosed that a team of doctors will pitch tent at the school on the opening dates to conduct the tests. Besides, learners will undergo counselling as individuals and in groups to erase any fears.

The school management and the committee will convene a parents’ meeting on April 29 prior to opening day. The meeting will be attended by top officials from the Ministry of Education, according to Macharia.

Macharia said he was satisfied with the progress made in the last few days by his teams.

He said the committee would wait for the public health officers’ advice on how to dispose of the foodstuff. 

“We hope after the meeting with parents, things will move fast because we want our learners to recover the lost time,” said Macharia.

Mukumu Girls has a population of 2,018 students.

“We have closed the main water reservoir and the natural spring and changed the entire water system by cleaning the water storage facilities and water pipes and installed a Sh6 million water purifier brought by the government,” said Macharia.

The staff members underwent counselling on Tuesday and non-staff on Wednesday by a team of psychologists deployed by the County Government of Kakamega.

The new School Principal Jane Mmbone reported to the school on Monday together with the new board of management.

According to the Health ministry, all samples taken from those affected revealed the presence of Escherichia coli bacteria (E-coli) and Salmonella typhi bacteria.