DOZENS of pupils from two basic schools in Madina were on Monday admitted in various hospitals for food poisoning after eating rice balls and groundnut soup at their respective schools.
Some of the victims, who were pupils of the Queen of Peace RC and SDA Primary Schools, had since been discharged.
Alhaji Amadu Sorogo, MP for the Madina-Abokobi constituency who confirmed this in an interview with Citi FM, an Accra-based radio station, conceded that it was on a mass scale but thanked God that there were no fatalities.
He disclosed that the children had finished eating their lunch which was part of the Government's School Feeding Programme (GSFP) on Monday when the incident happened.
According to Hon. Sorogo, the Matron who prepared the food had been feeding the children since October 2006 without any casualty, stressing that the caterer had been practising for over 10 years.
He therefore attributed the food poisoning to the long stay of the food which was prepared in the morning before its consumption by the children in the afternoon.
“The children who came in the morning session also ate the same dish in the morning without any complications.”
The MP said after going round the various hospitals, he realised it was difficult for some of the parents to foot the bills and that “measures were being put in place to enable the District pay the bills so that the children could return to the classroom.”
He pledged to continuously check on the children to ensure there were no fatalities.
Madam Beauty Korkor, a resident of Madina Social Welfare and a parent of two of the victims, in an interview with DAILY GUIDE confirmed the incident and said her children had suffered severe stomach pains after eating the food and were rushed to the 37 Military Hospital and the Legon Hospital for medical treatment.
She explained though this was the first time to experience such an incident since the introduction of the GSFP in the school, it was very serious and prayed it never happened again.
“My sons, who are pupils of Queen of Peace RC Primary School, have since returned home after undergoing treatment at the two hospitals,”
Meanwhile, the Secretariat of the GSFP had expressed its sincere apology to all affected pupils, parents and guardians, as well as authorities of the schools.
A statement signed and issued by Nana Ayim, the Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, assured the public that steps had been taken to investigate the cause of the problem.
In furtherance of this, it noted a team of GSFP Monitors had been dispatched to the schools to assist in investigations.
The Secretariat also had pledged maximum cooperation with the Ga East District Health Management Team and the Ghana Education Service, as well as the security agencies, to unravel the cause of the problem and enforce all sanitary standards and regulations for efficient service by all caterers in the district.
“We further assure the general public that immediate sanctions shall be applied against anyone whose negligence might have extensively contributed to the cause of this problem.”
According to the statement, the GSFP was a national programme that required the support of the public in the ongoing monitoring exercise, to achieve expected results.
The Secretariat further encouraged all parents and guardians, teachers, educational authorities and all patriotic citizens of the country to complement its efforts and that of the District
Assemblies in the national monitoring exercise.