Schools at the Forefront for Preventing the Spread od H1N1 Virus
Skopje, 10 September 2009. Minister of Health, Bujar Osmani together with the Minister of Education, Nikola Todorov and UNICEF Representative Sheldon Yett discussed with students the importance of maintaining basic good hygiene as an essential and effective measure to prevent the spread of pandemic influenza within schools and their communities. The discussion took place in a class on H1N1 in the school Zef Ljus Marku and is one of the measures that put schools at the forefront for preventing the spread of H1N1 virus.
Since the onset of the school year, the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Science has introduced measures to prepare for anticipated second wave of the H1N1 pandemic. The package includes: daily monitoring and reporting on the health condition of children in all schools and kindergartens; educational classes for children on prevention of pandemic influenza using UNICEF supported materials; advice to parents to ensure children with flu-like symptoms are given the proper care, and enhanced hygiene and sanitary measure and controls in all schools.
“It is important that children go to school and stay in school,” said the Minister of Education, Nikola Todorov. “We need to do what we can to keep them.”
During the visit UNICEF Representative, Sheldon Yett emphasised the influence that schools have over the behaviour of children. “Schools are not only at the front –line of education, they should also be at the front- line of public health. Promoting basic hygiene practices can not only help prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus, but can also help children develop life long healthy behaviours,” said Yett.
Since the global epidemic emerged earlier this year, the Ministry of Health has been proactive in preventing the spread of the H1N1 virus in the country.
UNICEF has been supporting the Ministry of Health to ensure communities and children are informed about how to protect themselves from pandemic influenza. To date, there have been 43 confirmed cases in the country. Information materials that will be used during the educational classes can be downloaded from www.unicef.org.mk
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