Uchechukwu Nnaike and Funmi Ogundare
Following the recent health scare at Queen’s College, Lagos, a visiting medical doctor to the college, Dr. Rotimi Ojo has advised parents to ensure that their children are given thorough medical attention prior to the resumption of every term in school.
According to him, “parents should ensure that their children, especially those in the boarding system are treated for malaria and any other condition that could threaten their health condition while in school before taking them back to school.
“The students should also ensure that they take their personal hygiene seriously, wash their hands always, as well as watch over their colleagues. This done, incidences of infectious disease would be easily checked.
Ojo, who was at the college to assess the situation, alongside other health personnel, said the health challenge in the college has nothing to do with either food or water and this must be stated clearly.
“The team from the Lagos State Ministry of Health, LASUTH, LUTH, local government environmental health officers, all of these persons have been here as a result of the alleged epidemic.
“Other doctors gave been coming around to see things for themselves and based on the trends of the symptoms and signs, we cannot say that there is any pointer to water or food poisoning”, he said.
A parent, Dr. Fatima Ahmadu said: “I have been a doctor in this college for at least six years and I was also around when the epidemic happened in 2017. I can categorically state that from all my medical expertise, nothing of such happened in this college as speculated recently on papers.
The health officers from LUTH and other sister outfits have been here. Samples and specimens have been taken and having been coming here at least three times a week, I can say that all the symptoms that we have are airborne and this is synonymous with what is going on in other schools.”
Reacting to the claims of epidemic at the school, a parent, Mr. Tunde Adekola said what has been discovered is a presentation of flu which has tend to spread fast because of the boarding system. “My daughter also suffered from the same flu, she came home, was treated and she has since returned to school.
“I want to say this without fear of contradiction that to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing related to food or water disease as is being speculated that it is a repeat of flu that happened in the college in 2017.
“When you say 700 to 900 to 1,000 students have vacated the college on account of such alleged outbreak, I cannot find that to be true,” he said.
Another parent, Mr. Wale Familusin said the entire developme
nt boils down to the selfish interest of the outgoing PTA executives, adding that they have agenda and it is wrong of them to use the lives of innocent children to play politics.
“The current principal is a progressive minded person that listens. Some of us parents have had course to meet her and suggest doing one or two things for the progress of the college and she did not hesitate because she knows it is indeed for the progress and good of the girls.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Advisory Council, Lagos First Generation Heritage Collges (LAFGHECA), Chief Oladele Olapeju has blamed The PTA Chairman of Queen’s College, Mr. John Ofobike for blowing out of proportion the number of students sent home for an alleged epidemic outbreak at the college.
Olapeju, a former Principal of King’s College, Lagos, stated during a solidarity visit to Queen’s College that leadership requires courage to confront negative news and stand out from the crowd.
“When I heard about the issue, I thought the college has been closed from the reports I read. If it was an infectious disease, it would have spread over Yaba environs. As it is, the school is calm and running.”
Commenting on the strained relationship between the PTA and the management, which led to the negative report in the media, he said the PTA should not be allowed to run the way it is currently running.
“The PTA chairman should have been asked to prove the authenticity of the 900 students sent home. What was the purpose for his exaggeration of the situation? Is there an unseen hand pushing the PTA to declare war on the college? If there are others reason, I think the principal and others should learn from this that they should not make a man the chairman of the PTA.
“If it was a woman, she would know the impact of spreading that kind of news to parents. Because of what happened in 2017, parents would be anxious to know how their children have been affected so as to save lives. For a school system like this, we don’t need that kind of PTA chairman or negative news, it can be disheartening and also the image of the college is being run aground.”
The Principal, Dr. Tokunbo Yakubu-Oyinloye said there was an incident of flu among the students which is common around this period, adding that the Ministry of Health had visited the college to ascertain the cause.
“People from the Ministry of Health and epidemiologist have been here and they have seen that what is happening has nothing to do with water or food. It does not have any connection with what happened in 2017 when students died of respiratory tract disease.”
She said some students were actually sent home to seek individual care so as to minimize the widespread of flu, adding that a doctor was invited to give health talk to the students.
“We had to bring in a doctor to advise them on proper ways to take care of themselves if they have cough or catarrh so they don’t sneeze or cough on each other. We don’t have any epidemic outbreak. Our water and food are okay,” she said.