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Children Urged to join Zika Virus Prevention Campaign

Published:Friday | January 22, 2016 | 4:43 PM
Rudolph Brown/Photographer Dr Marion Bullock-Ducasse, chief medical officer in discussion yesterday with (from right) Norman Allen, president of Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA); Doran Dixon, JTA past president; Howard Isaacs, president elect and Byron Farquharson, secretary general of JTA, at the JTA's headquarters on Church Street in Kingston.

WITH THE Zika virus posing increased threat to Jamaica, the Jamaica Teachers' Association, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, on Friday launched a campaign to sensitise all schools across the island about the virus.

The ministry said that the prevention programme is of utmost importance to ensure the safety of the general population, especially children, and announced that the health ministry has increased its vector-control activities islandwide.

Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse, chief medical officer in the Ministry of Health, told The Gleaner that children can play a major role in reducing and possibly eradicating mosquito-breeding sites. She made suggestions on how they can protect themselves and confirmed that the health ministry has been working closely with the education ministry to educate and inform students and teachers on how they can intervene.


"For the Ministry of Health, we are very aware that we need to ensure that our children are well educated and aware of the Zika virus, and how they can prevent it in particular. We know that children are very influential in terms of how parents take various actions, so the children taking the message home and also into their churches will help us to ensure that more of the population is taking the right measures," Bullock DuCasse said.

"Within the areas of the curriculum where the health aspects are taught, we have asked for the focus now to be on mosquito prevention and more specifically on Zika virus education. So the collaboration has taken place. It now has to filter down very quickly into the regional offices, the parishes, and into each school," she said.

In addition, Bullock DuCasse said parents have an integral part to play in protecting their children from contracting the virus. "Parents and kids, like the rest of Jamaica, need to start identifying any breeding sites and destroying them because the children are at school, they are at home, they also go to church.