Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (FP)????

Barbadian primary school children are being seen as some of the best resources in the fight against dengue fever and leptospirosis.

Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, made this assertion today as he addressed the preliminary of the 2009 Primary School Quiz Competition on Leptospirosis and Dengue Fever at the Lester Vaughan School, St. Thomas.

"I am told that wherever and whenever this type of programme is conducted the number of mosquito and rodent-related complaints reaching the polyclinic and the Vector Control Unit are significantly reduced," he said.

He told the students that evaluations had shown that primary school children were eager to gain knowledge about these vectors, and willing to execute behavioural changes and transform the knowledge gained into practice. As if to show how students had contributed to the fight against vectors, the Minister disclosed that for the period January to October 2009, 386 tests were done for dengue fever and out of these only 77 proved positive.

While noting that one death from this disease had been recorded this year, Mr. Inniss said, "It is the first time in 10 years that confirmed positive cases for dengue fever has been less than 100."

With respect to leptospirosis, the Minister, said that cases for 2009 were comparable to those of 2008 with one person in Barbados succumbing to the disease.

Meanwhile, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Patrick Todd, in addressing the students, said he welcomed the quiz format as a "progressive tool."?? He explained: "Through this process, students, teachers and, I would venture to add, parents, are exposed to the use of various skills, such as research methods and the building of a vocabulary associated with our environment.

"Moreover, they can learn about the serious effects of the proliferation of rodents and mosquitoes within our communities on our daily lives, and participate in the process of finding lasting solutions to these real challenges facing our country today."??

Thirty-eight primary schools from three polyclinic catchment areas, namely, Black Rock, Winston Scott and Randall Phillips, are competing in the quiz. It will see 114 students facing the judges between today and December 11 for prizes that include trophies, a savings account, cruises, hampers and jewellery.

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