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Schools Urged to Take Lead in National Clean Up Efforts

Published:Friday | February 5, 2016 | 3:59 PM
Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites participating in ZIKVclean-up activities at the Alpha Infant and Primary School yesterday.

MINISTER OF Education Ronald Thwaites has urged schools to take the lead in the national clean-up efforts aimed at eradicating mosquito-breeding sites in light of the public-health threat posed by the Zika virus.

He was participating in the National Clean-Up Day in Schools at the Alpha Infant School and Calabar Primary and Junior High School.

Jamaica confirmed its first case of the Zika virus last month.

"Today is not a play day because it is when we come together to recognise that we want to rid ourselves of the mosquitoes and every breeding place where the mosquito can thrive. Today, you are going to learn what it is to keep good health and to avoid ZIKV, chik-V, and dengue", Thwaites told students at Calabar Primary and Junior High.

Thwaites urged schools to take the threat of ZIKV seriously by ensuring a clean environment.

The minister told teachers and students to spare no effort in ridding schools of mosquito-breeding sites.


"When you go home, you are to tell your parents, and you are to look in your own yard to see and make sure that there are no mosquito breeding sites there. You are among 600,000 or so Jamaican students and school communities that are doing the same thing today. Nobody is too young, nobody is too old to learn how to take care of ourselves," he said.

"We want to banish the mosquitoes in Jamaica ... . Make sure that we avoid the breeding places because if we get rid of the breeding places, we are going to get rid of the mosquito because it can only breed in those conditions."

Characterising ZIKV as a public-health threat, Thwaites said that the children must be the first to know about the dangers so that they can develop proper hygienic habits.

Thwaites also said that the National Clean-Up Day in Schools was aimed at sharing information about ZIKV with students so that they can share it with their parents and influence their communities to take action against the mosquito-borne virus.

"Today is a day when we are going to learn to take care of ourselves and respect our environment. Today is the day we are going to clean up all the bottles, all the old pans, and clean up anywhere that mosquitoes can breed; wherever there is stagnant water," he said.