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Ebola: Only few states provide preventive kits to schools

Many state governments extended the holiday to October 13 to enable them put in place necessary preventive measures against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in…

Many state governments extended the holiday to October 13 to enable them put in place necessary preventive measures against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in schools as directed by the federal government.
Daily Trust reports that the initial resumption date was early September but following the outbreak of Ebola disease the federal government extended it to October 13 and later reduced it to September 22. However, most states stuck to the October 13 date on the grounds that the September deadline was close to Sallah festival.  
The federal government also directed the 36 states and the FCT to put in place all preventive measures in schools before the resumption date.
But our reporters, who visited some schools in some states, observed that many states did not provide preventive measures items to schools.
In Kano, lack of provision of sanitisers by the state government has forced teachers of most public schools in the state to contribute money for the purchase of local liquid soaps.
At the Gandun Albasa Special Primary School in Kano Municipal Local Government Area, the pupils were seen around 7.15am on queue sanitising their hands with detergent diluted inside plastic table water containers.
Speaking to our correspondent, the headmaster of the school, Hassan Hamidu, said the state government did not provide any sanitiser to them.
“I used my money to purchase detergent which I empty into the plastic table water containers and shake it very well. All the pupils of the school numbering over 1000 use it daily as sanitiser,” he said.
Similarly, the students of Government Girls Secondary School in Gandun Albasa were seen washing their hands with local liquid soap. The students were seen in a queue at a borehole located at the entrance of the school washing their hands.
At Gwale Model Primary School in Gwale Local Government Area of the state, the pupils were also seen sanitising their hands with liquid soaps also provided by the school authorities.
 Speaking to our correspondent, a teacher said following the failure of the state government to provide the sanitiser, they contributed money to purchase liquid soap.
Effort to get the state Commissioner of Information, Danburam Abubakar Nuhu, to comment on the issue was not successful as he was not picking his calls.
In Kaduna, checks across three local government areas of the state indicated that the state government was only able to provide the infra-red thermometer and pamphlets containing information on how to prevent Ebola to most public and private schools.
At UBE Unguwan Dada and Hawan Mai Mashi Primary schools in Makarfi local government, it was found that one thermometer each was provided to the schools.
At the Adamu Dikko Primary School and Umrabs School, a private school, in Tudun Jukun under Zaria local government, each of the schools received one thermometer.
Information obtained at some schools in Sabon Gari Local Government Area of the state showed they had similar experiences.
However, at a stakeholders’ meeting held in Zaria recently, the state Commissioner for Education, Ibrahim Ali, promised that both public and private schools with a population of more than 500 students would receive two thermometers in addition to other Ebola prevention kits.
In Kwara State, the government is said to have trained 2,300 teachers on Ebola prevention measures.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Alhaji Lamidi Alabi, said that health teachers of primary schools and principals of secondary schools were also being trained on the use of infra-red thermometers.
Also, the Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Saka Onimago, had last week presented the Ebola Virus Disease preventive tools to schools in the state.
He said hand sanitisers, bowls, towels and customised polythene bags have been distributed to principals and head teachers.
In Zamfara, schools are yet to receive infrared thermometers and other preventive measures to check the spread of Ebola, Daily Trust observed.
Our reporter, who visited some schools in the state capital, observed absence of the Ebola screening facilities and other items such as liquid soap and towels among other items.
Some students who spoke with Daily Trust said that although they are aware of the disease, they do not know about any plan to provide preventive items to schools by the government.
In Kogi State, our reporter who visited some secondary schools in the state capital observed that the schools made provision for hand testing machines and sanitisers.
At Government Day Secondary School, Adakolo, Crowther Memorial College, Government Day Secondary School and Redeem Secondary School, our reporter observed that students were mandated to wash their hands with liquid soap and also use sanitiser before entering the schools.
In Kebbi State, schools have not been provided with Ebola prevention items, but the Commissioner of Education, Alhaji Abdulmumin Samaila Kamba, said the items would be made available soon.
Also in Sokoto, most public schools had not been provided with the necessary preventive materials against Ebola.
But the Commissioner of Education, Alhaji Yusuf Danchadi, said government had placed an order for the items and schools would soon be provided them.
He said N200 million was allotted for the purchase of infrared thermometers, sanitisers, water tanks, detergents among others.
The commissioner added that Ebola Virus Desk Officers had been posted to schools across the state.
However, some private schools in the state have provided items such as infrared thermometers and hand sanitisers and running water to their students.
In Ogun State, a week after the commencement of the new academic calendar, the daily routine temperature tests and hand-washing in public schools has been stopped.
At the Abeokuta Grammar School, Idi Aba, a student confirmed to Daily Trust that “we were only given the test on resumption day and since then nobody is checking our temperature again.”
However, in most private schools, temperature test and hand washing have become regular exercises. At Success Private School, Ajangbohun in Odeda local government, pupils were seen lined up at the gate undergoing test.
In Imo, not all schools are provided with Ebola preventive measure items. Our reporter observed the presence of water and soap for hand washing, steriliser and thermometer in some schools.
But there was none at the Community Primary School Irete in Owerri West LGA. And the headmistress of the school, Mrs. Charity Ibe, said they were yet to receive the items from the government.

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