Our Daughter Died of Neglect in Nigerian Boarding School – Parent Narrates The Painful Death of Morenike Toye

 Late Morenike Toye

Dec 3, 2011 – Our Daughter Died of Neglect in Nigerian Boarding School – Parent Narrates The Painful Death of Morenike Toye

21st of Nov, 2008 will forever remain unforgettable in Toye Arulogun’s family. It was the day their only daughter, Morenike Toye Arulogun died from cerebral malaria and acute renal failure.

The 11-year old Morenike was a student of Faith Academy, the school she joined in September, few months before her death.

Three years later, the Aruloguns are still fighting the cause of their daughter’s death. To them, it is a mission to be championed with their flesh and blood.

Her case was regarded as negligence on the part of the boarding school owners who were perceived to be careless over the health of the boarding student. Morenike was allegedly abandoned at the time she needed the utmost help from her care givers.

Her father, Mr. Toye Arulogun, said the death of Morenike exposed some ills that have been going on in boarding schools which have also resulted in loss of lives of young Nigerians who are supposed to be the future of tomorrow. Right now, there is a website created in memory of Morenike, Movement Against Negligence in Boarding Schools, MANIBS, with the webite, www.manibs.org.

In an encounter with Saturday Vanguard, Mrs Idorenyin Arulogun, Morenike’s mother said, the idea came after she and her husband became convinced that their 11-year-old daughter, Morenike Arulogun, died due to Faith Academy’s negligence in giving their daughter adequate medical attention while in their custody.

While we were mourning, we got to hear of deaths and near-death situations which have happened in Faith Academy and other schools. There were so many we couldn’t keep quiet, because if someone had spoken up before now, these schools would have done what is right and I am sure my baby would still be alive today,” Mrs Arulogun said. www.naijagists.com

“To this end, it is of great concern for us to sufficiently move against the negligence in boarding schools.”

Narrating how their only daughter died, Morenike’s parents said, “By the time we were called on Sunday November 16, 2008, she had gone delirious, incoherent and subconscious with the inability to respond to calls of her name or recognize members of her family. It was one of the nurses that said “I wonder what could have happened to Morenike. She was here on Thursday, and we even joked with her”.

That was when we knew that she had visited the hospital once. That day, we heard she was given drugs which she mistakenly lost. Then, she went back on Friday. She was given another set of drugs. There was no monitoring. The point is that, the 11 year-old was given drugs to go and take by herself. She lost the drugs and went back the next day to take another set.

According to her brother who was also in the same school, she vomited the drugs. And we found out that there was no blood test administered until our arrival at the school. It was in our presence that they were trying to take her blood sample for test. They struggled and eventually were able to take the blood. They gave her some injections but she didn’t regain consciousness. Another point was that there was nobody who knew the particular drug she was given.

“By the next day, Monday November 17, her kidney had shut down and she was not able to produce adequate quantity of urine necessitating her transfer from Covenant University Health Centre, Ota to Life Support Medical Centre, G.R.A Ikeja, Lagos, where she began to undergo dialysis. She was later transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital where she was placed on the Ventilator (Life Support Machine) on Wednesday November 19.

“An exchange blood transfer of five pints was done on Thursday November 20. It was decided by the medical team the following day Friday Nov ember 21, that she needed another session of dialysis. She therefore was returned to Life Support Medical Centre. It was on the dialysis machine that complications arose and she had to be rushed back to the Intensive Care Unit where she passed on at about 7.00p.m that same day, Friday November 21, 2008.

“We are saying that something wasn’t done properly. People die everyday but we want to be sure that things are done right without any doubt.

“While in general hospital, there wasn’t enough facility and in the process, there were complications and even at that time, the entire LASUTH has no dialysis facility. It was only in ICU where the patient was charged more than N100, 000.”

Asked if the relationship between Morenike and her teacher was cordial, Mrs. Arulogun said, “Morenike had just joined Faith Academy barely two months, so it was just a short relationship. But within that short period, a particular text message was sent to my mobile by her teacher, saying that Morenike should bring some items including mosquito’s cream. That was the first contact. The other contact was when the teacher told her daddy that Morenike moved her seat from the front row to the back but that she didn’t know it was serious.

“The truth is that every teacher should be curious to know what is wrong with his or her student. Even her English teacher testified that she was a wonderful child. Another thing was that through our intervention, lots of parents have benefited because so many children were taken from that school. If we had someone who had informed us of the danger ahead, we wouldn’t have lost our daughter. She probably wouldn’t have been the only child that passed on in the school. What would have happened to the remaining children? “

She reiterated that “Morenike presented herself for treatment at the Covenant University Health Centre on Thursday November 13, 2008. She was back at the medical centre on Friday November 14, 2008 because the symptoms she complained of the day earlier persisted. No investigation results were obtained at the first visit so as to guide treatment.

“The prescribed drugs which were handed over to her were missing by Saturday November15, 2008, according to Toye the elder brother. No laboratory test was conducted until the following day. Morenike’s class teacher confirmed that she moved her seat to the back and lay her head on the table during classes for three days but he “did not know it was that serious”.

The then school principal, Mrs Oluyinka Oluwadare, informed us that Toye Junior who is Morenike’s elder brother and a student of Faith Academy at that time fed Morenike on Saturday November 15, 2008 the day before they were notified. The school did not have a drug usage nor health management procedure during this time. Cerebral malaria was a common occurrence in Faith Academy as we found out later.”

According to Mr. Toye Arulogun, the death of his daughter has also proved there are so much atrocities in boarding institutions and the only way is to fight it at all cost. “I will like to build a malaria centre for children because whatever the efforts of government in combating malaria is not enough when you look at the population. It is going to be a centre where children can get free malaria treatment.

Also, I am hoping that I can tell this story in a pictorial manner by doing a movie on it. The title is “Church is not Heaven”. And this is because of what had happened. Maybe, we felt that we had an expectation from man, not knowing that it is better to focus on God.

“There are plans to build libraries within the neighbourhood for children to benefit from the cause. Another aspect is that we will be doing daily school visitations on awareness campaign, lectures, seminars and talks”. Arulogun, while saying the meeting was not to cast aspersions on anyone, said parents have a right to demand that their children be given the best attention while in school. He said the group’s mission is to demand for better education and health management standards in schools.

If things happen that we have no control over, then we can leave that to God. But what we can do to avoid negligence on the part of school authorities, let us do. The tendency is for people to keep quiet and say it’s not my business. But for me, I’ll spend my last kobo on this cause because life is sacred.”

For Arulogun, an offer of scholarship for his son in exchange for his daughter’s death was a wrong alternative. “I was offered a letter indicating that my son was going to be given scholarship and I said no. And because of the cause, it is expected that every ideal boarding school should have some facilities, including building a health centre which should be in a designated area within the school premises.

There should be a doctor who visits weekly, one or two qualified resident nursing staff with adequate experience and a separate healthcare facility administration staff. Boarding schools should have a minimum of six observation beds per thousand pupils.

The clinic should have a stethoscope and a thermometer; daily out-patient clinics including weekends, 24-hour emergency access, dental clinics or access to outside healthcare facility as well as the technology and medical equipment. There should be access to outside medical laboratory services and proper medical records. www.naijagists.com

There should be drugs and medical supplies, a minimum stock of essentials such as bandages, disinfectants, anti-malaria, analgesics in the drug cupboard. The school should know the source, track its storage and use. Quality assurance processes must have protocols, guidelines and standard operating procedures for common health problems in place.

There should be prompt notification of parents should pupils become ill. The school should have guidelines for contacting parents and providing information about referral to outside private or public hospitals, in the case of serious medical emergency.

Morenike & family

Every student should know the procedures in approaching health problems. In terms of funding, it is not necessarily supposed to be in cash. People can donate to schools, for instance, someone can donate mosquito nets, we can also get facilitators for free.

Many parents who are bringing their children from abroad are now disappointed with the condition of boarding schools in Nigeria. In the course of this struggle, lots of schools are now being cautioned on negligence. We have been carrying out monitoring, especially in the South West. There is a planned project of building a secretariat for children to access free medical care.

“I was in Winners for 11 years and so I was an insider. And lots of people felt that I shouldn’t put up the fight as a member of the house. I said no, because I needed a change. There are lots of people in the school that got to the school because of my recommendation. I know that things have changed in that environment.

“As at the time Morenike passed on, Faith Academy was not registered in Ogun State as a boarding school. That is why we are also working with the education authority because it has been noticed that when these schools are given licence to operate as boarding schools, the education sector hardly goes back to those schools to know what the current situation of activity is. Some don’t even have the licence to run a boarding school.

“Malaria is a common disease and any of us can fall ill due to attack from malaria but we are convinced that within that environment, there was a degree of negligence which made the illness degenerate. So, what we are trying to do is to prevent future re-occurrences within boarding environments, not necessarily the school my daughter attended.

A child who goes to a boarding school should get as much care as he or she does at home. There is need to enlighten people within the educational system as well as give mosquitoe nets to boarding schools and the third thing is to take up cases of people who are falling victims”.

The Child Morenike

“She was our only daughter and the only girl of the two generations of the Aruloguns. So she was special. She was her father’s girl. She was studious and because of her attitude to reading books, preparations were on ground for her library to be established.

“She believed in building others. She was inquisitive and ready to learn. She was a singer, a teacher and motivational speaker.

She was creative. Her talent made her establish a club called, “Put Them Right” at Odey Infant and Junior School, Ogba, Lagos. It is an etiquette-based club.

The club is still running till date. She didn’t only establish the club, she wrote out the mission statement and anthem for the club.”