26 November 2012

Uganda: Arua School Closed Over Cholera

Photo: Paco Arevalo/IRIN
A young cholera victim receives treatment (file photo).

The authorities in Arua municipality have closed Hope Kebir primary school before following a cholera outbreak in the area.

The school is located amongst heavily crammed settlements in Kenya ward, Oli division where sporadic cholera cases have been reported since October.

Norah Fathu, the municipal principal health inspector said they found out last week that two cholera patients were sharing a latrine with the children from the school located less than 10 metres away from their house.

The school is housed in a building where the landlord rents out some rooms to accommodate other tenants. "This literally put the lives of the children in danger and we advised the education department to close the school," she said.

The latest outbreak brings to 32 the number of cholera patients treated at both Oli health centre IV and Arua hospital since October.

Two of the patients died while one is still being treated in the hospital.

However, the municipal principal education officer Joachim Ozimati told journalists in his office on Thursday that Hope Kebir was one of the eight unregistered primary schools operating in the municipality that were earmarked for closure early next year.

The school had over 130 children in the nursery and 92 in the primary section which has classes only up to primary three.

Ozimati said the school will remain indefinitely closed until the proprietors meet the minimum benchmarks including constructing proper classrooms and separate latrines for boys, girls and the teachers.

He advised schools that do not have capacity to handle both nursery and primary sections to limit themselves to one section until they acquire the necessary facilities for expansion.

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