Homa Bay Principal Sends 400 Students Home Over Lack of Toilets

Primary school students going to school
Primary school students going to school.

More than 400 pupils of Ogada primary School in Homa Bay were sent home indefinitely over the lack of toilets in the school on Tuesday, January 24.

Learning was suspended in the school following a directive by public health officers who stated that the school posed a risk to the spread of cholera.

Health officers ordered the school administration to close the school indefinitely after realising that the institution did not have adequate pit latrines.

Children at Kinyango Dandora Primary School
Children at Kinyango Dandora Primary School Children.
Kenya Children Fund Site

Teachers and pupils in the school had resumed learning for the first term after reporting back from the December holiday break.

“The existing infrastructure is in poor condition. The decision was made as a precautionary measure to avoid a possible cholera outbreak.

“The available latrines are in are filled up and there was a high likelihood of the pupils, teachers, and other staff members contracting cholera,” Public Health officer Tobias Okong’o stated. 

The move followed a notice of closure issued by the public health officials who declared the school unsafe.

Confirming the closure, the school headteacher Andrew Opiyo stated the school administration had received the letter and acted as directed.

Opiyo added that the institution was constrained with resources and was not able to establish adequate latrines for the pupils.

“We attempted to build new latrines but were unable to do so due to financial limitations,” Opiyo explained.

According to Emmanuel Okunga, the Ministry of Health's head of Disease Surveillance and Response, three out of 14 counties were being closely monitored due to an increasing number of cases of cholera since the first identified case in October 2022.

The ministry advised Kenyans to observe high levels of cleanliness in their homes and ensure they consume well-cooked food and boiled water.

“We are working with other stakeholders such as the ministries of Water and Interior in order to stop the further spread of the disease,” Okunga stated.

School children watching a TV programme in a classroom in November 2021.
School children watching a TV programme in a classroom in November 2021.