More than 200 children in Swaziland were treated for food poisoning after allegedly being served contaminated meat at school.
It came as schools throughout the kingdom struggle to feed children because the Swazi Government has not paid monies owed.
The emergency happened at Mphundle High, the Swazi Observer reported on Tuesday (20 June 2017).
The newspaper reported, ‘Over half of the total number of pupils at the school is said to have complained of severe stomach pains, diarrhoea and vomiting.’
It added, ‘Some of these allegedly vomited in the middle of lessons, throwing a serious wave of panic among the teachers.’
Paramedics were called to the school and pupils needing urgent medical attention were taken to nearby health clinics where some were later transferred to hospitals.
The newspaper said pupils ate beef and rice during their lunch break the previous day, ‘a meal which is suspected to have been the cause of their illness’. All children have reportedly recovered.
Deputy Regional Education Officer Dzabulase Mthupha confirmed the incident.
The outbreak of food poisoning came after for the second term running children across Swaziland have been sent home early from classes because there is no food for them. This is because the Swazi Government has failed to deliver food, known locally as zondle, to poverty-stricken areas of the kingdom.
The Ministry of Education and Training delivers about four 50kgs of rice and six to 10 to 50kgs of mealie-meal, depending on the size of the school and beans in each school to last a month.
The situation has not changed since the start of the February 2017 school term.
According to the World Food Program about 350,000 Swazi people from a population of 1.3 million need assistance with food following the drought. Chronic malnutrition is a main concern in Swaziland: stunting affects 26 percent of children aged under five years.
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