Mmegi Online :: Health scare at Aerodrome Primary School unpacked
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Last Updated
Friday 17 November 2017, 19:00 pm.
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Health scare at Aerodrome Primary School unpacked

FRANCISTOWN: Details of what caused a health scare at Aerodrome Primary School on August 24 have been revealed. The health scare was exclusively published by Mmegi’s sister publication The Monitor last week Monday.
By Lebogang Mosikare Fri 08 Sep 2017, 17:10 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Health scare at Aerodrome Primary School unpacked








Pandemonium broke out at the school after a suspected member of the Aerodrome community disposed of clinical waste by throwing it into a large dustbin within the school compound. The suspected member of the community threw the waste from outside the school boundary.

The waste, according to the investigations carried out by the school management, unfortunately fell outside the dustbin because it was full. Learners doing Standard One to Three then started playing with the discarded clinical waste. They pricked each other with the used needles that were used by the sugar diabetes patient. Giving background information about the matter, the chief education officer for the northeast region Vumani Luckson said eight learners were involved in the traumatic incident. He said: “The school with the assistance of the local clinic personnel (nurses and a doctor) tested all eight learners who pierced each other with the used syringes. The school management then invited parents to the school for a counselling session conducted by the health officials. The learners will be tested again after three months.” Luckson also requested the school principal to write a comprehensive report in terms of Guidance and Counseling interventions in place to curb such incidences in the future.

Earlier, Luckson said, the school had reported that nine learners were involved in the incident but the head count later showed that only eight pupils, six boys and two girls were involved.  “We also engaged the Francistown City Council to empty the dustbin which was over flowing. The school management suspects that one member of the community wanted to dispose clinical waste by throwing it into the dustbin. Unfortunately the waste fell outside the dustbin as it was full,” said Luckson.  From the investigations conducted by the health personnel, a

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sugar diabetes patient used the clinical syringes, said Luckson.

The district education office recommends that the school head should ensure the safety of all learners in the school on an urgent basis. Luckson added: “The City of Francistown should place dustbins on strategic points far from the public around the school premises. The Guidance and Counseling teacher should come up with programmes that empower pupils from such risks. Supervision and monitoring should be intensified as this happened during lesson time.

Counseling for parents should also continue in the future. The Guidance and counseling teacher should work closely with PEO II Guidance and Counselling and health personnel.”

Sources who attended the crisis meeting at the school on August 31 following the incident said as a precautionary measure, the learners were given Emtricitabine and Tenofovir-antiviral medicines that prevent HIV cells from multiplying in the body.

Said one parent: “The pupils will be tested for HIV every three months for up to a year and half to ascertain whether they were not infected with HIV or not since HIV is sometimes difficult to detect in its early stages. Fortunately, the learners were found to be free of sexually transmitted infections that can be transmitted through blood transfusion.”

The parent added that when the school management and teachers were still brainstorming on how to curb the problem during the meeting, one pupil brought another used syringe.  

The pupil, sources added, told the teachers that he took the syringe from the school bag of one learner who was among pupils who were in possession of the discarded injections.  This apparently simultaneously shocked and traumatised the teachers and parents to the core as it became apparent that some learners might still be in possession of some used syringes.

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