Schools tackle spread of Avian Influenza
Awareness raising lessons for children in Georgia
TBILISI, 28 March 2007 – Pupils in Georgia have undertaken two days of lessons on avian influenza in a bid to raise awareness among youngsters about the part they can play to protect themselves and others against the virus.
The event, on 28-29 March, was led by the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Curriculum and Assessment Centre, with the support of UNICEF. Entitled, “What we have to know to prevent avian influenza”, the lessons took place in all schools throughout the country.
Initially, all schools received an educational package on avian influenza consisting of: informational booklets for teachers, scenarios of lessons for students, and school calendars and information posters. During their lessons children drew pictures depicting avian influenza issues. These were displayed in exhibitions in schools on 29 March.
“I knew some information about avian flu from TV but thanks to our school lesson I know much more,” said 12-year-old Mari Bajiashvili, from Koda, near Tbilisi. “I have learned that we should not touch fallen birds and should our wash hands at all times.”
“Schools are an important entry point for us to spread knowledge about AI prevention” - UNICEF’s Georgia Representative, Giovanna Barberis
UNICEF’s Georgia Representative, Giovanna Barberis, said: “According to a UNICEF-commissioned survey, the knowledge on specific prevention measures among children in Georgia is very low. Schools are an important entry point for us to spread knowledge about AI prevention.”
This UNICEF study also revealed that personal hygiene knowledge among children is extremely low in Georgia. According to the study, only 5.5 per cent of children aged 6-11 wash their hands after touching poultry, this rises to 9.1 per cent for children aged between 12 and 16. Unchanged, this behaviour increases the risk of spreading the disease.
UNICEF is to continue raising awareness of avian influenza among children by combining formal and non-formal educational measures. In the summer, drama workshops tackling avian influenza issues will be organized for children living in high risk areas.
UNICEF is on the ground in 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information, please contact:
Maya Kurtsikidze, Communications Officer, UNICEF Georgia