Written by Godfrey AKON

Queens College flu: FG to attach FGCs to hospitals

An infectious flu that recently ravaged Queens College, Lagos, has triggered a new policy move by the Federal Government to affiliate all 104 Unity Schools to public and private hospitals at close proximity.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echono, who disclosed this in Abuja at a press briefing to mark the 2019 World Teachers Day, said the move became necessary to forestall any future outbreak of diseases in the schools.

“We have taken some policy measures at the ministry that all our unity schools must be attached to government hospitals that are at close proximity. Where the government hospital is not very close, we allow them to also be attached to private hospitals not more than three to five hundred meters from the gate, for rapid response.

Echono said measures were being taken to forestall a reoccurrence of similar incidents, adding that in the future, government is also ready as it will increase the number of medical personnel in the schools.

“We, unfortunately, have not reached the stage where we have doctors and a full complement of medical personnel in all our schools. But it is a big community and going forward we are looking towards that. Right now, most schools are headed by nurses with community attendance as well,” he said.

He further stated that from 2020, Unity Schools have been mandated to procure ambulances to attend to health and similar cases immediately they occur.

Speaking on the recent outbreak of an infectious disease in Queens College, Lagos, he dismissed reports that the school was hit by a cholera epidemic, stating that the disease was a flu that affected an unusually large number of students because of its communicable nature.

“I paid an on-the-spot visit yesterday to the college. I also met with officials of Lagos State, Ministry of Health, the epidemiological unit and all the other stakeholders have been notified and indeed Lagos state will be issuing a press release on it today, in fact, to counter that there was no cholera epidemic in Queens College. Nothing water borne or food-related.

“We had a very unusual number of cases of flu, cold and malaria and because kids come in, this is a flu season, and I also had flu. So when I went there yesterday I specifically requested that the students should be kept away from me because it spreads so much,” he said.

The perm sec however noted that the flu crisis had been brought under control as only about three or four students were still hospitalised when he visited the college last week, adding that the first four days was a huge challenge to the school.

“Very few, only about three or four were still in the hospital as at the time I visited. But the first three, four days, it was a huge challenge. We are pleased to report that it has been brought under control,” he said.

Echono apologised to parents and students for the disruptions caused the students, while disclosing that many were already coming back to school after their treatment in the hospital.

 

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