The condition of clinics in many public secondary schools in the North Central states is pathetic. While many of the day schools have no clinics, those that have boarding system provide sick bays which do not have functional staff nor adequate drugs for medication. In the wake of the appalling situation, students face risks when they take ill in school. Daily Trust Saturday captures the scenarios across some schools in four states in the area.
Schools in Kwara have only paracetamol at sick bay
The condition of secondary school clinics in some public schools in Kwara is pathetic.
Our correspondent gathered that boarding students rely mostly on medical facilities outside the school. In some cases, they are handed over to their parents to take care of their medical needs. Although schools were not in session when our reporter visited, some senior students who were still in the hostel preparing for Senior Secondary School Examination confirmed the situation.
At Government Secondary School (GSS) and the Queen Elizabeth College (both in Ilorin), students who fall ill are mostly referred to Temitope and General Hospital Ilorin which are opposite the schools for proper medical attention.
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“Although the common issue here is malaria, there is hardly any drugs for treatment, except common ones like paracetamol,” a student of one of the schools who preferred anonymity said.
Though the clinic at GSS, Ilorin, was under lock and key when our correspondent visited, snapshots of the sick bay were taken through a pinhole in the door and broken louvers of the building which contains two separate rooms as well as an empty store that may have been designated for drugs.
It was learnt that each room was furnished with six beds at inception, but about three beds have no mattresses in one of the rooms, while only one mattress was sighted on the floor of the other room and heavily covered with dust.
At Queen Elizabeth College, a staffer told our correspondent that there was no permanent doctor on ground to attend to the students who were not also getting a satisfactory attention by nurses that came from the ministry.
“Most times, we take the children to the general hospital when they are ill or contact their parents who take them to their private hospitals. There is really not much at the clinic, except paracetamol,” he said.
All efforts to get the response of the Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Sa’adatu Kawu, were to no avail at the time of filing this report.
Poor clinic condition, lack of personnel in Plateau boarding schools
Most public secondary schools in Plateau State do not have functional clinics. This is due to lack of medical personnel to manage them. Though there are clinic structures in boarding schools that do not have functional facilities, there is none in the non-boarding schools. A source in the state’s education sector who preferred anonymity, said apart from some schools that had some drugs in the office to give to ill students, no public school had an operational clinic or qualified doctors or nurses.
The source said some schools only had first aid boxes as the only symbol of their medical facility, while others do not even have any, except drugs that they keep in different containers. At Government Secondary School, Tudun-Wada, a student said there was no clinic in the school, except the health mistress who kept a first aid kit with drugs. She, however, said being a day school, parents were usually called upon to take their children with severe illnesses to hospitals.
The situation is the same at Government Secondary School West of Mine, another day school where a student told our correspondent that drugs were administered by the Health teacher and the Health prefect on any student who fell ill.
At Government College Jos, a boarding school, there is a sick bay but there are neither doctors nor nurses to attend to ill students at the bay. Our correspondent gathered that the sick bay is overseen by the Chemistry teacher, who also doubles as the health mistress in the school.
Sources said the school used to have a nurse but she left the service about six years ago. Since then, the school manages to attend to sick students through sick bay, while it refers severe cases to partner hospitals.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Plateau State Commissioner for Secondary Education, Elizabeth Wapmuk, was not successful as her mobile phone line did not connect and she failed to reply the text message to the phone.
Benue and Kogi offer first aid services to students
In Benue State, most of the boarding secondary schools visited have sick bays which offer first aid and early medical attention to students and staff.
At the Mount Saint Gabriel Secondary School, Makurdi, the sick bay was locked because students were said to be on holiday and despite that some students were still in school writing Senior School Certificate examinations.
One of the students writing the exams who spoke on the condition of anonymity, however, disclosed that there were sufficient drugs for minor ailments such as malaria fever or common cold. He added that in severe cases, the school referred students to higher health institutions or call their parents to take them home.
Nobody was found at Government College, Makurdi, when our correspondent visited as the doors were locked up. But a peep through the windows showed few beds and other medical equipment in the room housing the sickbay.
A staffer who preferred anonymity said the sickbay was always opened to students and staff on daily basis even when the school is on holidays.
“I think the staffer at the sickbay stepped out. That’s why the place is locked,” he said.
The situation is the same in Kogi State where the principal of Saint Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, Lokoja, sister Getrude Attam, said the college had provision for first aid medical attention to take care of ailing students within the school premises.
The school which was established by the Catholic Diocese of Lokoja, our correspondent gathered, refers severe medical cases to any of the two hospitals that it is attached to.
She said that before the school management took such decision, it usually consulted the parents of the affected student.
Mumini Abdulkreem (Ilorin), Dickson S. Adama (Jos), Hope Abah Emmanuel (Makurdi) & Adama John (Lokoja)