Some of you may have heard of the swine flu outbreak in the Kenya High School in Nairobi. It is reported that 23 school girls have been diagnosed with the influenza virus leading too the quarantine of the whole student body from the outside world.
Concerned parents flocked to the gates demanding that they see their children but were barred from doing so by the school security. Many argued that this action by the school administration stood in violation of their rights as parents to the children.
I sympathize with the parents. It must be horrifying knowing that there is confirmation of the disease in the school and yet you cannot see or withdraw your child. Any parent would be driven close to insanity with worry at the thought that their child could be at risk. That said, it would be of benefit to us to be aware of what the law says with regards to this situation.
The Public Health Act authorizes the Public Health Officer to take whatever action he deems necessary to prevent the spread of diseases noted to be a public health risk. This includes shutting down Mama Mboga’s restaurant that obtains its meat from suspect suppliers, closing the doors off your favorite nyama joint due to serving donkey meat and whether you may agree with it or not, declaring a quarantine in a school that poses a public health risk. The logic being that public interest overrides personal comfort. Is the logic sound? Send us your views on
www.afyakenyafoundation.org or post your comment on our Facebook wall.
Oduwo Noah Akala,
Afya Kenya Foundation.