"𝐖𝐄 𝐖𝐈𝐋𝐋 𝐄𝐍𝐒𝐔𝐑𝐄 𝐌𝐔𝐊𝐔𝐌𝐔 𝐆𝐈𝐑𝐋𝐒 𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇 𝐒𝐂𝐇𝐎𝐎𝐋 𝐑𝐄𝐂𝐋𝐀𝐈𝐌𝐒 𝐈𝐓𝐒 𝐋𝐎𝐒𝐓 𝐆𝐋𝐎𝐑𝐘,” 𝐂𝐒 𝐌𝐀𝐂𝐇𝐎𝐆𝐔 𝐓𝐄𝐋𝐋𝐒 𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐀𝐓𝐄
The Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Education Hon. Ezekiel Machogu has today informed the Senate that his Ministry is doing all it can to ensure Mukumu Girls High School becomes among the top ten schools in the country.
While appearing before the August House for his inaugural question time, CS Machogu
informed the Honorable Senators that his Ministry’s quality assurance team has already undertaken an assessment of the school and provided specific recommendations to guide the school’s management, which the Ministry will duly implement.
Here is an excerpt of how CS Machogu’s inaugural question time in the Senate Chamber panned out earlier this morning:
𝐒𝐞𝐧. (𝐃𝐫.) 𝐁𝐨𝐧𝐢 𝐊𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐥𝐞 (𝐊𝐚𝐤𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐠𝐚): Could the Cabinet Secretary state remedial actions the Ministry has taken to allow for the resumption of learning in Mukumu Girls High School in Kakamega County following the suspected contamination of food and water that resulted in the death of four (4) students and one (1) teacher and the hospitalization of more than one hundred students in various hospitals within the County?
𝐇𝐨𝐧. 𝐄𝐳𝐞𝐤𝐢𝐞𝐥 𝐌𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐠𝐮: The management of the school has since been changed and, so, we have a new principal and Board of Management in place. Secondly, all the school water storage and piping system has been flushed out, cleaned, redesigned and upgraded to avoid leakages.
The Ministry has also sunk a new borehole in the school compound across the road making the water supply adequate for the school’s needs. In addition, the Ministry in collaboration with the Red Cross are providing counselling services to students, teachers, support staff and parents in the school.
𝐒𝐞𝐧. (𝐃𝐫.) 𝐁𝐨𝐧𝐢 𝐊𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐥𝐞 (𝐊𝐚𝐤𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐠𝐚): What support has the Ministry given to families of the deceased, particularly, in meeting the cost of treatment, where applicable, and burial?
𝐇𝐨𝐧. 𝐄𝐳𝐞𝐤𝐢𝐞𝐥 𝐌𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐠𝐮: The Ministry through the Edu Afya Insurance Policy catered for the cost of treatment of the 109 students in various health facilities that they were admitted to. The deceased families are entitled to a group life insurance compensation of Ksh400,000 per student and they will soon be paid.
𝐒𝐞𝐧. (𝐃𝐫.) 𝐁𝐨𝐧𝐢 𝐊𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐥𝐞 (𝐊𝐚𝐤𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐠𝐚): Does the Ministry intend to compensate families affected by the suspected contamination?
𝐇𝐨𝐧. 𝐄𝐳𝐞𝐤𝐢𝐞𝐥 𝐌𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐠𝐮: As I have indicated, the Ministry paid the cost of treatment for the learners who fell sick following the contamination. The families of the deceased students will be paid Ksh400,000 per student. The Ministry will also continue to provide psycho-social support to the affected families and students.
𝐒𝐞𝐧. 𝐊𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐢 𝐌𝐮𝐫𝐮𝐧𝐠𝐢 (𝐌𝐞𝐫𝐮): How are you going to make sure that all schools in the country have access to clean water so that what happened in Mukumu Girls doesn’t happen again?
𝐇𝐨𝐧. 𝐄𝐳𝐞𝐤𝐢𝐞𝐥 𝐌𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐠𝐮: If you look at the Government’s allocation of money, there is money which is allocated for the school borehole development. However, since we don’t have the necessary technical capacity and equipment to do the water boreholes, the money is given to the Ministry of Water. So, progressively, we are doing boreholes in conjunction with the Ministry of Water.
𝐒𝐞𝐧. 𝐒𝐭𝐞𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐌𝐚𝐝𝐳𝐚𝐲𝐨 (𝐊𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐢): Kwanini ulichukua hatua ya kubeba chakula kibovu kutoka shule ya Mukumu na kukipeleka Bamburi Portland Cement Factory ili kiharibiwe, ilhali kampuni hiyo inahusika na simiti?
𝐇𝐨𝐧. 𝐄𝐳𝐞𝐤𝐢𝐞𝐥 𝐌𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐠𝐮: According to the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and Public Health, Bamburi is the only area where we have a good facility for the safe disposal of contaminated food. We do not have that kind of facility anywhere else in the country. Out of the experience we had in Mukumu, we are advising schools to stop buying food in large quantities that last the entire term to avoid contamination.
𝐒𝐞𝐧. 𝐌𝐨𝐡𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐂𝐡𝐮𝐭𝐞 (𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐬𝐚𝐛𝐢𝐭): Umeweka mikakati gani ya kuhakikisha kuwa shule zote zinampangilio mzuri wa kuhifadhi chakula ili tusipate shida tuliyoipata shule ya Mukumu tena?
𝐇𝐨𝐧. 𝐄𝐳𝐞𝐤𝐢𝐞𝐥 𝐌𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐠𝐮: I wish to inform this House that the Ministry has developed the safety standards manual for schools to provide guidelines for ensuring safe health conditions in the school environment. The manual requires that each school have a school safety committee that guides hygienic food handling practices.
𝐒𝐞𝐧. 𝐀𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐧 𝐂𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐮𝐢𝐲𝐨𝐭 (𝐊𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐡𝐨): If these guidelines were already in place at the time of the incident in Mukumu, what then caused the breach and do you have further amendments to these guidelines to seal all the loopholes?
𝐇𝐨𝐧. 𝐄𝐳𝐞𝐤𝐢𝐞𝐥 𝐌𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐠𝐮: I must admit that we have had a problem with the enforcement of these guidelines. Some of the excuses my officers have been giving are that they have not been able to move around schools to inspect. That’s why I am giving my officers all the necessary support. So, as a Ministry, we are now following up on the enforcement of directives, guidelines and policies.