Mukumu Girls High School has been closed indefinitely after two students died and scores more were infected with bacteria from contaminated food and water.
One student is said to be recovering in the intensive care unit.
Jared Obiero, Western Regional Director of Education, confirmed the incident to the media on Monday.
According to Obiero, the decision to suspend school learning came after consultations between the school, the Ministry of Education, and the county government.
In recent weeks, the school has made headlines after a large number of students were hospitalized with vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness.
In late March, 72 students from the Kakamega County-based school were admitted to the Kakamega County General Hospital, with health officials suspecting a Cholera outbreak.
County public health officials, however, ruled out Cholera after tests revealed a possibility of food poisoning.
Senator Boni Khalwale who was part of the leadership at the school following the tragedy said the incident at the school is not new.
In 2022, two students at the same school are said to have died from a similar incident.
According to Senator Khalwale, quality assurance officers deployed to the school after the 2022 incident made their findings, which were not implemented.
“The incident just repeated itself,”
I’m here with the directorate of quality assurance, they investigated the incident last year and made their recommendations, but they were not implemented,” Senator Khalwale said.
On Monday, Khalwale told the media that the school, which gets its water from the Lake Victoria North company, was supplementing the supply by pumping water from a nearby spring.
The spring’s water is said to be contaminated.
According to Khalwale, students from the school also fetch water in unsanitary containers from a borehole outside the school, exacerbating the situation.
At the same time, a committee investigating the incident discovered that the cereals consumed at the school are supplied by a syndicate within the administration.
The cereals are also said to have been preserved using a poisonous preservative that was further putting the students at risk
“Because of a desire to make sure their cereals are consumed, they use an unscrupulous chemical called Nova to preserve the cereal,” Khalwale said.
Khalwale said the symptoms exhibited by the students who are still in hospital are consistent with the side effects of the preservative the school store has been using.
“This information was not given to doctors at the hospital, so doctors have been fumbling and investigating COVID, HIV, and so on and so forth instead of treating food poisoning,” Khalwale added.
“Currently 25 students are in hospital and they are being treated,”