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23.02.2009 Social News

Deaf Pupils Under Attack

By Daily Guide
Deaf Pupils Under Attack

Savelugu deaf students MORE than 150 pupils of the Savelugu School for the Deaf are suffering from water-related diseases. The children who are constantly attacked by these diseases are further exposed to other communicable diseases due to poor facilities in the school.  

The school lacks potable water and good residential facilities for both pupils and staff despite the continuous cry by school authorities for government assistance.  

DAILY GUIDE 's investigations revealed that the school authorities provide water only for cooking and drinking, compelling the pupils to travel over 7km to a dam in a nearby village to bathe.  Those who are not able to make it to the dam do not bathe for several days.  

The situation, according to our investigations, is worse during the dry season as most ponds depended on by these disadvantaged kids dry up, making it impossible for them to either wash or bathe.  

When DAILY GUIDE visited the water sources, it was found to be unsafe, infested with snakes and other dangerous reptiles believed to be contributing to the many sicknesses attacking the pupils.

Crocodiles were also reportedly living in one of the dams located across the Tamale-Bolgatanga highway.  

These children who can neither hear nor talk have to walk across the busy highway to enable them get water to bathe.  

A visit to the school revealed that most of the students were unkempt while some had skin rashes and sores.  

The Headmistress of the school, Madam Atoriya Immaculate disclosed that the school's perennial water problem had existed for over a decade now and that the school depended on water tanker services just to cook for the students.  

The high cost of engaging tanker services, according to her, made it impossible for them to cater for the students' bathing needs as there was no budgetary allocation for that.  

She said the school used part of its feeding remittance to buy the water, and expressed worry at the way this was gravely affecting the children's feeding.  

The only special school of its kind in the Northern Region, Madam Immaculate admitted that about 150 out of the 290 students were suffering from water-related diseases as a result of the lack of potable water, adding that about three of the pupils suffered from guinea worm in the past.  

The headmistress said the little ones among the students were usually taken care of by caretakers while the adults took care of themselves and were expected to bathe once a day.

She also admitted that some of them often failed to bathe for days, and believed that could be the cause of the rashes and sores suffered by the pupils.  

She disclosed that all attempts to get government to come to the aid of the school with a water tanker proved futile, adding that even the local Savelugu-Nanton Assembly demanded money before it supplied the school with water.  

Mr. Wayo Mahamah, a staff of the Tamale Polytechnic who was moved by the plight of the school, offered to provide them with two tanker trips of water weekly; but it was woefully inadequate considering the high demand.

He appealed to organizations in the country to come to the aid of the school to at least put a smile on the faces of the children.  

Madam Immaculate particularly expressed gratitude to Mr. Wayo for the gesture, and appealed to other individuals to emulate his example.  

From Stephen Zoure, Savelugu