Against the background of a dengue outbreak in Jamaica, the Clarendon Health Department (CHD) has taken steps to prevent and control its spread through education.
Public Health Inspector Supervisor, Gabrielle Jackson Soltau explained that the team partnered with the Early Childhood Development Officer from the Ministry of Education and Youth to work with 40 schools in the Lionel Town area of Clarendon. The principals received training at a vector control sensitization session on Thursday, September 21 at the St. Thomas Anglican Church hall in Clarendon.
“We have 40 principals here today and we approached it this way because we believe that if we can reach the principals then we can reach all the teachers in each school. The principals will now have emergency meetings and the information that we have given them, they will now pass it to the teachers and the teachers will pass the information to the children and the children will take it home” Mrs. Jackson Soltau said.
The Public Health Inspector added that the principals received training and information about mosquito breeding sites, signs and symptoms of dengue, how to protect yourself and environment against dengue, mosquito behavior and types of mosquitoes. “We presented the information in a fun way and we got 100 percent cooperation from them. An exhibition was also done on the different stages of the mosquito cycle and mosquito breeding sites so they can have a better understanding. We were able to showcase possible breeding sites and how hidden and secretive they can be. We allowed them to see some of the potential and active breeding sites and we are convinced that this initiative would have allowed them to gather enough information to assist with preventative and control measures for dengue” Mrs. Jackson Soltau said.
She noted that persons are urged to play their part in reducing the spread of dengue by monitoring water storage containers for mosquito breeding; keeping surroundings free of debris; destroying or treating potential mosquito breeding sites; wearing protective clothing; using a mosquito repellant containing DEET and, as much as possible, staying indoors at dusk with windows and doors closed.
The team will be going into the schools to do further education and will be targeting the Parent Teachers Association bodies to assist with spreading the message of preventing and controlling dengue.
“We will be going into the schools with a dengue song which I had written and we will target the students in a fun and engaging way. Once we get them to participate and learn the message, they will be able to take it home and make a difference” Mrs. Jackson Soltau added.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that is usually a mild illness in which a person may get a fever, headache, joint, and muscle pains. Rest and adequate hydration are usually enough to see one through the period of illness. The recommended treatment for the fever is acetaminophen/paracetamol.
The Ministry of Health & Wellness urges members of the public not to use aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, or any of the medications/pain relievers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs, when used to treat the fever in dengue, have been known to increase the severity of the disease.