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role of teachers is vital in raising awareness

Islamabad The role of teachers is vital in raising awareness among school-going children on dengue fever, its symptoms, control and prevention. Teachers are a great influence on students and are role models for them; hence they can spread the message on dengue prevention and control most effectively and reach a large number of households.

These views shared by dengue experts of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) CDA while addressing a one-day Dengue Fever orientation training for school teachers at the Islamabad Model School here.

In order to counter a general lack of awareness on dengue among students, WHO and CDA have joined hands in initiating a series of teachers’ training workshops throughout the country. Thursday’s training workshop marked the beginning of a campaign aimed to raise awareness on dengue prevention and control. Students who understand about dengue will take key messages to their parents, leading to better community practices.

For this purpose, WHO has developed guidelines for schoolteachers in English, Urdu and Sindhi. The booklet includes basic messages for students, illustrations that are easy to understand for the teachers, symptoms of dengue, how dengue is spread, the lifecycle of dengue mosquitoes and various methods by which dengue can be controlled. At the end of the booklet, an exercise has been given for the students to do on weekends which includes simple questions as how they can help their family to prevent mosquito breeding in their homes and how can they stay safe from the disease.

Dr Rana Kakar, WHO medical officer for communicable disease surveillance and response, welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of collaboration of teachers with doctors and nurses in spreading public health messages. “The dengue teachers’ resource material is the first WHO-sponsored effort to combine forces between the sectors to combat dengue,” he said.

CDA (DHS) Director Dr. Hassan Orooj spoke on the current situation of dengue in Islamabad and the coordination of the dengue response so far.

WHO officer Dr. Qutbuddin for vector-borne diseases and Dr. Sairah Faruk from CDA Health Directorate introduced the WHO resource materials for teachers published in both English and Urdu. All the preventive measures were demonstrated with actual props and visual aids.

Dr. Iqbal Afridi, Health Officer, Directorate of Health at CDA, explained how to conduct the weekend activities in an effective manner and how to analyse the results brought back by students.

Professor Dr. Siripen Kalayanarooj, Director, WHO Collaborating Centre on Dengue, Thailand, also addressed the gathering. Prof. Siripen shared her experiences on the effectiveness of teachers to motivate students to control mosquitoes and to look out for the students’ health. The WHO mission is visiting Pakistan to assist the federal, provincial and district health departments in better handling the Dengue fever patients inhealth facilities.The news.

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