|Environmental Health Assistant, Elyawsheeb Holford, delivering a presentation on the control of mosquitoes to the teachers. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??|
Twenty primary school teachers are now armed with the knowledge needed to control and eradicate mosquitoes and rodents in their respective schools.
They attended a one-day training workshop today, entitled: Mosquito and Rodent Control. It was hosted by the Ministry of Health’s Vector Control Unit in the Environmental Health Training Centre, 5th Floor, Old National Insurance Building, Fairchild Street, St. Michael.
Senior Environmental Health Officer, Maurice Gaskin, told the Barbados Government Information Service that the department decided to target teachers for this particular workshop because it was receiving complaints, all of which had been investigated.
"The schools, especially the country schools, are located near cane grounds and we suspect that a lot of bushy, overgrown vegetation contributes to the problem. To get around that, we suggest that those who manage and own these schools make sure that there is at least a 12-foot perimeter around the school that is free of vegetation.
"We’ve also found that some of the practices of the children, in terms of the disposal of food wrappers and so on, contribute to the problem. That is why we are having the workshop that teachers would go back and instill in the children the right practices," Mr. Gaskin said.
He added that some of these schools did not have the required minimum number of garbage cans – six.
The teachers represented twenty public and private schools from the six catchment areas in which the environmental health officers operate – the Warrens, Black Rock and Winston Scott polyclinics in St. Michael; Maurice Byer Polyclinic in St. Peter; Randall Phillips Polyclinic in Christ Church and the St. Philip Polyclinic. They were educated about Dog Care and Management by an officer from the Animal Control Unit, who demonstrated how dogs and cats could spread such diseases as leptospirosis. In addition, Mosquito Control and Dengue Fever; Rodent Control and Leptospirosis; Identification of Mosquito Larvae, Bait Stations and the Use of the Black Lamp and The Role of the Environmental Health Officer, were also taught.
They were also advised by environmental health officers to have classroom desks cleaned each morning before the start of school, to avoid possible contamination from rodent urine or faeces which could spread life-threatening diseases such as, hantavirus which has symptoms similar to influenza. It is believed that humans could become infected with this virus if they come in contact with contaminated dust from mice nests or droppings.
The teachers were told to make sure the surroundings of their schools and the classrooms were kept tidy and clean to prevent the breeding of vectors and the spread of disease.