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Environmental Health Unit focuses on leptospirosis

By Glen Simon, Ministry of Health

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(GIS) – 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 the educational initiative is that students will share that knowledge with others.

Environmental Health Officer, Glenda Etienne-Cepal explained the rationale for bringing the message directly to school children.

“The department 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 to 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.

“Ms. Cepal and her team were able to effectively raise the awareness of this vector borne disease. When we educate the students it eventually it gets to the wider community and help us change our lifestyle practices.”

The Environmental Health Unit has concentrated its efforts on leptospirosis as it seeks to create behavior change to reduce the rat population, the main vector responsible for the spread of leptospirosis.

Outreach sessions are also being conducted with market and coconut vendors, farmers, extension officers, and sanitation workers among others.

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