Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu announced three raft changes in all schools nationwide to avert the crisis witnessed at Mukumu Girls High School in April 2023.
While appearing before the Senate on Wednesday, May 31, the CS noted that the Ministry created a manual requiring institutions to have a safety sub-committee.
Machogu explained that the sub-committees were tasked with ensuring that the school adheres to all sanitation requirements and has systems to protect all learners in case of a disease outbreak.
"The Ministry developed the safety standards manual for schools to provide guidelines on ensuring safety and health conditions in the school environment.
"The manual requires each school to have a school safety sub-committee. It also provides guidance on a number of issues such as the promotion of environment-based sanitation, the provision of safe water and sanitation, protection of children with special needs, and the taking of immediate steps when there is a threat of a disease outbreak," stated Machogu.
To ensure uniform adherence to the guidelines, the CS noted that the state had scaled up transportation for its officers, including county directors and public health officials, for routine inspections.
The CS, answering Senators' questions about the government's preparedness to tackle future disease outbreaks, further noted that all schools had been advised to reduce the quantity of foodstuff bought by individual institutions.
He explained that in the Mukumu Girls outbreak, investigations revealed that the school had bought enough cereals for the entire term.
Machogu also insisted that the newly-developed manual would require all schools to use preservatives as advised by the Ministry.
"What we are also advising the schools out of the experience we had in Mukumu Girls is that they don't have to buy maize, beans, and rice to last the entire term because the quantities they had would have lasted the entire term.
"Also the kind of preservatives being used is one other thing that brought problems. We are now checking on that. Out of that experience, we are escalating that to all our schools nationally so that our county directors, the public health people and the experts are able to check on this," he added.
On April 3, Mukumu Girls was shut down after a severe case of diarrhoea broke out at the institution and claimed four lives, three students and a teacher.
124 students were hospitalised at Kakamega Referral Hospital while the school was temporarily shut down.
On May 2023, the Ministry of Education confirmed that over 1800 out of 2028 learners had resumed studies at the institution.
Machogu confirmed that all families of individuals who lost their lives in the tragedy will receive Ksh400,000 compensation.