The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, launched its pilot project for schools, the “Mosquito Squad” at the Sister Marie Laurence School earlier in the week.
The CPS program kicked off at the Sister Marie Laurence School on Monday as a pilot campaign with fourth graders. After an evaluation, the program will be expanded to other schools.
The objectives of the Mosquito Squad for schools are to strengthen the bond between schools and existing community initiatives and to mobilize the public to take action in eliminating mosquito breeding sites in and around public and private locations.
By focusing on school aged children, giving those tools and knowledge to change behavior, future generations will be better prepared to care for their families and communities resulting in a clean environment, CPS said.
The launch took place at the Sister Marie Laurence School in the presence of Minister of Public Health Emil Lee and Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs. Other officials who took part in the launch were Head of the CPS Dr. Virginia Asin, School Principal Karen Wattley, School Board Members, Pupils and staff from CPS Vector Unit.
The Mosquito Squad will consist of children in fourth grade between the ages of 9-10. Every Monday, each participating school will designate a team of pupil inspectors overseen by a teacher.
At the launch the first two squad officers were introduced wearing their recognizable reflector yellow “Stop the Mosquito” vest.
The children and teachers were also introduced to the Vector Unit supervisors and instructors Gerald Davelaar, Lionel Francisca, and Kendall Gumbs.
The pupil inspectors will carry out an inspection of the school premises noting down potential mosquito breeding sites based on a guideline and school inspection checklist; this information will then be passed on to the school janitor who will ensure that all breeding sites have been cleared prior to the next inspection.
The children will also use educational tools such as games and puzzles to learn more about the mosquito biology, species, habitat, reproductive activities, and mosquito control actions to control mosquito populations.