A Form Two deaf and dumb student at Stella Maris Secondary School in Blantyre is at her home village in Mulanje recovering from a life-threatening condition that went unattended because of communication breakdown her and the school’s teachers.
Seventeen-year-old Melia Jumbe is said to have fallen sick at the school, but teachers ignored her, claiming that she was lazy and not interested in school.
According to her sister Diana Namacha, when Melia stopped attending classes because of her illness, the school administration summoned her guardian to collect her.
“We received a call from one of her teachers telling us that Melia is sick. When we went there, we found that she was in a critical condition. She could not even walk.
“But the most painful thing was that some teachers said she was faking illness, claiming that she was playing when her colleagues were in class and was just not interested in school,” she said.
Namacha said they took Melia to Mulanje where she was admitted to Mulanje District Hospital. After three weeks, she was referred to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, where she was hospitalised for over a month.
She said, at QECH, Melia was diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis (TB).
“After having a CT scan, they found that she had spinal TB, which had destroyed one of the spinal bones,” said Namacha, lamenting that the situation could have been avoided had the school administration not taken her sickness lightly.
According to Namacha, Melia has since been discharged, but she is on TB treatment at her home village.
When contacted yesterday, Stella Maris Secondary School head teacher Sister Diana Malikebu refused to comment on the matter.