A video clip showing schoolgirls being fumigated as they reported back to school on Monday, October 12 sparked wide uproar among Kenyans.
The clip that went viral all over social media showed girls dressed in uniform getting sprayed by a man who had mounted a knapsack sprayer commonly used for pest and disease control.
The schoolgirls were sprayed with the chemical meant to sanitise them as the school sought to adhere to COVID-19 containment measures put in place by the Ministry of Health as schools reopen.
A number of Kenyans reacted to the video by calling out the school for exposing the girls to inhuman treatment in the name of sanitising them, a video that has since gone international.
“This is the ultimate in absurdity. Watoto wamekuwa ng’ombe (children have become cows)? The fellow is even spraying those without face masks. Next, we may see a cattle dip for better effect.” feared one Nginyah Ngaruma.
“When we say CS Magoha has no plan of keeping our students safe, they say we don’t want students to go back to school. How is this keeping the students safe? What kind of chemical is being used? You are all gonna kill our students even before Coronavirus does”, highlighted Bravin Yuri.
The unidentified school, traced to Kisumu by 254news.co.ke through the comments, took the shocking steps despite the government banning spraying disinfectants or chemicals on people through booths or tunnels.
According to Ministry of Health Director-General Patrick Amoth, such spraying poses health risks and does not eliminate COVID-19.
In June, Dr Amoth revealed that the chemicals are not designed for use on human bodies and could be dangerous for those with respiratory problems and allergies.
According to the World Health Organisation, the spraying depicted in the video can be ineffective and that the chemicals are dangerous.
“This could be physically and psychologically harmful and would not reduce an infected person’s ability to spread the virus through droplets or contact,” reads the document.
Spraying chlorine or other toxic chemicals on people can cause eye and skin irritation, bronchospasm and gastrointestinal effects, it adds.
WHO advises that if disinfectants are to be applied, this should be done with a cloth or wipe that has been soaked in disinfectant.
The chemicals that the countries are using can irritate the skin, eyes, nose and mouth and the respiratory tract.
Additionally, they can irritate the digestive tract, cause cancer, and can generate air pollution in the form of ozone.