Just in: 120 learners hospitalised after eating government-provided school food

A toxic batch of school meals are thought to be the reason behind mass hospitalisations of children at a primary school in Port Alfred, Eastern Cape on Monday – after dozens of learners were left requiring urgent medical treatment.

Government-provided lunches cause ‘mass illness’

Scores of Kamvalesizwe Primary School were given their meals, as per the government’s National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP). However, something was gravely wrong with the food on offer.

Shortly after the lunch break, learners started dropping like flies, reporting symptoms such as stomach cramps and vomiting. A full investigation is now underway, and the Eastern Cape Education Department has released a statement:

“About 120 Kamvalesizwe Primary school learners, in Kenton-on-Sea, outside Port Alfred have been admitted at the Port Alfred Hospital after complaining of stomach aches and vomiting, this afternoon.”

“It is alleged that these learners started showing signs of this after having a meal served at their school during the lunch break period as part of the National School Nutrition Program. Departmental officials from the district, provincial office and the Department of Basic Education are on site monitoring the situation.”

Eastern Cape Department of Education

Dozens of children hospitalised by school meals

There’s still a lot of confusion around what allegedly caused this frightening incident, but the government provision of the food remains the most likely cause. The school is expected to remain open on Tuesday 15 February.

JUST IN: More than 100 learners from Kamvalesizwe Primary school in Kenton-on-Sea, outside Port Alfred, Eastern Cape have been admitted at the Port Alfred Hospital after complaining of stomach aches and vomiting, this afternoon. #LearnersHospitalised pic.twitter.com/8G2dCgq0B9

— Sisonke Mlamla (@SISONKE_MD) February 14, 2022

The provincial education department, meanwhile, has confirmed that support is being provided to those affected:

“The district office is currently providing psychosocial services to the learners, teachers and parents. The department is monitoring the situation in collaboration with the Department of Health. Currently, all officials and parents are still awaiting medical reports on what led to the situation.”

Eastern Cape Department of Education

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