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Government closes Homa Bay school over lack of toilets

Health officers in Ndhiwa have directed a public primary school to suspend learning for fear that pupils will contract diseases as they defecate in the open.

As learners reported back to class on Monday, January 23, 2022, more than 400 others at Ogada Primary School in South Kabuoch Ward were told to go back home because the learning institution does not have proper latrines.

Most of the affected pupils went to school on the first day of term one hoping to begin their studies in new grades but were told to go back home until the hygiene of the school is improved.

Public health officers closed the institution indefinitely until toilets were built so that no pupil defecates in the open.

According to a letter from South Kabuoch Ward Public Health officer Tobias Okong’o, the school has inadequate ventilated pit latrines.

The latter said latrines that are in the school are filled up.

Mr Okong’o added there was improper disposal of fecal matter which he described as being on the slab which produced bad odour.

He further said the school has poor structure and buildings which he described as being in deplorable condition.

“Take notice that under provisions of the Public Health Act Cap 242 section 155,119 and 120 and the School Health Policy and rules, the medical officer of health still is satisfied with the existence of nuisance faces and dirty/ odour at Ogada Primary School,” read part of the letter.

Poor hygiene at the school affects both pupils and teachers who suffer from the same challenge of lack of proper latrines.

Health officers said no one is safe at the school.

In the letter copied to the Ministry of Education and other relevant agencies, Mr Okong’o said the institution will remain closed until the new sanitation facilities are put in place.

School management was directed to construct adequate, functional and ventilated pit latrines within the school for use by teachers and pupils.

“Construct urinals for boys in correct design and construction. Ensure provision of structurally sound buildings that is for classes, administration office and kitchen,” read part of the letter.

School head teacher Adrew Opiyo confirmed receipt of the letter.

He said the school which was established in 2014 has been struggling to build stable latrines.

He attributed the problem to poor soil structure in Ndhiwa which makes putting up a foundation for a building expensive and challenging.

“We have received letters from the public health office about the condition of our latrines. Our efforts to put up new latrines has been a challenge because we do not have enough capital,” Mr Opiyo said.

The school administrator called on the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) in Ndhiwa and well-wishers to come to their aid.

Mr Opiyo said his learners will fail to cover the syllabus adequately if learners stay at home.

“Schools are already open but our learners are still at home. We call for help to put up new latrines,” he said.

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