The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: School Blamed for Child's Death

AN inquest into the death of a 13 year old pupil of Gilgil Hills Academy has accused the school and its employees of lack of diligence and incompetence. The inquest into the death of Linda Chepkorir Koech that was conducted at the Nakuru Chief Magistrate's court concluded that the school's administration and nurse were indirectly responsible for her death.

Senior Principal Magistrate Loise Komingoi faulted the school's administration's poor medical record keeping and questioned why the school did not inform the deceased's parents of her illness. Linda died on July 28, 2008 after she was taken ill at the school three days earlier. School nurse Gladys Kahera told how Linda reported to the school dispensary on July 26 complaining of chest pains. She gave the pupil some cough medication but she reported back the next day complaining of stomach pains.

The nurse told the court that she suspected the girl had malaria and she prescribed anti malaria medication. On the third day, the dormitory matron reported to the nurse that the pupil had not woken up. She died later that day. Kahera admitted she did not inform the school's administration of the girl's illness. A post mortem report done by Dr Peter Njenga identified the cause of death as a bacterial abdominal infection known as peronitis.

Komingoi noted that though they did not owe any one student a duty of care above the rest, the least they should have done was to inform the parents. Komingoi said the matron's statement should have been recorded as well. Komingoi directed the file be forwarded to the state counsel's office and the Gilgil police for the next course of action

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