Regular cleanliness drive urged

National 2 minutes, 59 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MINISTRY of Health (MoH) officials yesterday urged school officers to make sure that their premises were free of mosquito habitats as part of the efforts to prevent Zika cases.

Hanisah Hj Matsah from the Environmental Development Unit under (MoH), in her presentation titled “School and College Cleanliness” based on their health inspections in schools said they found out that some schools were slacking in ensuring their areas were free from stagnant water where mosquitoes could lay their eggs.

The presentation on cleanliness was made at Sekolah Tinggi Perempuan Raja Isteri (STPRI) and attended by educational officers from various secondary schools and colleges in Brunei-Muara.

She pointed out the common problems observed during inspections conducted by MoH personnel in various schools such as broken toilet bowls, drainages overgrown with grass and polluted with rubbish, improper garbage management as well as waste house, gully trap and improper management of storage rooms.

“All these problems can be ideal grounds for mosquito breeding. Some dumpsites at schools are not following the criteria of the health ministry, some garbage was left deserted and drainages were stagnant and filled with plastics,” she said.

Besides eliminating mosquito breeding grounds, schools must also manage their storage room properly, said Hanisah. She said neglecting proper management of storerooms could attract other insects and pests such as rats that could cause pollution or more health problems.

Hanisah reminded those who attended the cleanliness briefing to ensure that their schools provide complete facilities and items for cleaning purposes such as water pipes near waste houses or dumpsites and soaps in the toilet for hand-washing.

The health official also told the audience that cleanliness in school was everyone’s responsibility and must be carried out regularly to guarantee that the premises were free from any kind of disease.

Pg Nazrul Arif Pg Dato Paduka Hj Md Zain, head of the Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Unit from Ministry of Education, for his part, said the briefing was aimed to assist principals in carrying out early preventive measures by following the best practices of Zika prevention. He gave the welcoming remarks during the event.

He added that it was also to ensure schools and colleges are free from mosquito breeding sites by identifying the breeding areas, emptying, cleaning or closing the areas where stagnant water could be present.

“It is our responsibility, be it school staff or those who are in the office, to always be cautious with this issue by increasing their understanding about the causes and spread of Zika as well as its preventive measures,” said Pg Nazrul.

Earlier during the event, two health officers, Dr Mohd Hussien and Julaini Hj Bini delivered their presentations on Zika virus and vector prevention.

MoH officials also featured a mini exhibition about Zika virus.

According to the World Health Organization website, Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, which also transmits chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever.

There are two types of Aedes mosquitoes known to be capable of transmitting Zika virus. In most cases, Zika is spread through the Aedes aegypti mosquito in tropical and subtropical regions. The Aedes albopictus mosquito also transmits the virus and can hibernate to survive regions with cooler temperatures. The mosquitoes prefer to breed in areas of stagnant water.

Based on research, there is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly or children being born with unusually small heads and Guillain-Barré syndrome which is a neurological disorder that could lead to paralysis and death, according to the WHO website.

The Brunei Times