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(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – The Environmental Health Unit in the Ministry of Health and Wellness has expanded its outreach programmes on leptospirosis to schools on the island.
Students of the Bocage Combined School are now better informed about leptospirosis, it’s mode of transmission and the measures they can and should take to protect their families.
The primary objective of education is to share knowledge with others. One of the qualities of a good teacher is to impart a deep understanding of a subject to students effectively and with passion and hope, in turn that in doing so they will be inspired to teach others. This was the underlining premise driving the outreach programme of the Environmental Health unit as they educated students of the Bocage Combined School on leptospirosis.
Environmental Health Officer, Glenda Etienne-Cepal explained the rational for bring the message directly to school children.
“The Department of Environmental has been taking this proactive approach for a very long time to bring education and knowledge to the children and the country in general. We believe that a lot of the time the grownups and adults have taken their old habits and it’s very difficult to break those habits. So taking an approach with the children at such a tender age is easier for them to actually grow into better habits and better lifestyle choices.”
Principal of the Bocage Combined School, Davis Thomas was quite pleased with the presentation, the interest of the children and the involvement of parents.
“I think other schools should follow our example and invite Ms. Cepal and her team in to share and raise the awareness of this vector borne disease at their school to the students, the teacher and off course the parents. Because, when we educate the students eventually it gets to the wider community and we can change our lifestyle practices.”
Two children from the Bocage Combined School, Jaden Nickels and Ashley Biscette highlighted some of the key points they gathered during the session.
Jaden Said, “I remember that you mustn’t leave any food out because the rats can eat the food and get larger and they can bread and more can come and your house will be infested soon.”
Ashley however stated, “There are three types of rats which can cause leptospirosis. When you leave food out and they eat and then you go and eat it you can get leptospirosis. During the Hurricane season many people can get leptospirosis and you have to wash your hands before and after eating.”
The Environmental Health Unit has concentrated its efforts on leptospirosis as they seek to create behavior change to reduce the rat population, the main vector responsible for the spread of leptospirosis. Outreach session are also being conducted the market and coconut vendor, farmers, extension officers, sanitation workers among others.