Two KCSE candidates die after consuming ethanol at school in Tharaka Nithi

Two candidates at Karigini Secondary School die after drinking ethanol

Detectives in Tharaka Nithi have launched investigations into the death of two Form Four students who allegedly died after consuming ethanol at school.

The two candidates from Karigini Mixed Day Secondary School are said to have consumed ethanol at the school laboratory.

Tharaka Nithi County Police Commander Mr Zacchaeus Ngeno said 11 others; four girls and seven boys are receiving treatment at Chuka County Referral Hospital where they were taken on Saturday afternoon.

He said according to the reports gathered from the school in Muthambi Sub-county, the students took the chemical on Thursday evening but only one showed signs of dizziness immediately.

He said when a multiagency team of security, education and health officials visited the school on Saturday morning; they were able to clearly establish through the other students who consumed the substance that it was ethanol.

He however said investigations are still ongoing to establish what transpired.

Tharaka Nithi Director of Education Ms Bridget Wambua described the incident as unfortunate and urged the school management to be extra vigilant.

She also asked the parents of day school students to ensure that their children and especially candidates do not engage in bad behavior including taking alcohol or drugs as they sit for the examination.

“We only have 24 candidates in that Form Four class and two of them did not turn up for the rehearsal while the school population is only 71 students,” said Ms Wambua.

Tharaka Nithi County Nursing Officer, Dr Kenneth Micheni said the 11 who are in hospital are in stable condition and are currently experiencing mild symptoms.

He said the two who died had taken a large amount of ethanol but probably would have been saved if they immediately sought treatment.

“The deceased were rushed to hospital on Saturday morning after their health deteriorated but were unfortunately confirmed dead on arrival at Chuka County Referral Hospital and their bodies were taken to the facility’s mortuary awaiting postmortem,” said Dr Micheni.

He said though those admitted are responding well, they will remain in the hospital for some time as they are being observed because even the two who died were in stable condition until Friday evening.

Ethanol in school

An ambulance from the Tharaka-Nithi County Government picks up students of Karigini Mixed Day Secondary School who reportedly consumed ethanol on Thursday this week. 

Photo credit: Alex Njeru| Nation Media Group

The school’s board of management chairperson, George Kaburu said the death had dealt a huge blow to the small school and urged both teachers and parents to be extra vigilant with the students.

He regretted that the parents remained with the students at home until the situation worsened instead of taking them to the hospital for treatment.

“It is unfortunate that the parents thought they would treat the students by giving them some concentrations which probably worsened the situation,” said Mr Kaburu.