Badly cleaned schools can help spread dengue
Experts have expressed fear that the dengue fever may spread further in the country this year if the authorities concerned do not take appropriate measures before reopening educational institutions.
They suggested cleaning schools, colleges and universities properly to destroy Aedes mosquito larvae and breeding sources as well as applying adulticide and larvicide before reopening the institutions.
"As educational institutions remain closed for long, carrying out extensive cleaning work in and around those is very important. Otherwise, students will be under huge risk of contracting dengue fever," said entomologist Saifur Rahman.
He said school, college, and university authorities also will have to conduct extensive fogging at their institutions with the help of city corporations.
If a school is in the area of active clusters of Aedes mosquitoes, anti-mosquito drives and cleaning activities will have to be done there very sincerely and effectively, he said.
Entomologist Kabirul Basher said they found Aedes mosquito larvae in some primary schools in the capital's Mirpur and Jurain during their survey from Jahangirnagar University around 15 days ago.
"Primary schools are the most vulnerable to Aedes mosquitoes as those remained closed for long," he said.
The government on September 5 announced that schools and colleges will reopen from September 12 in phases.
Earlier, the government also decided to reopen universities from October 15.
Educational institutions have been closed since March 17 last year due to the pandemic.
According to data of the Directorate General of Health Services, 12,434 people were hospitalised with dengue fever across the country this year until 8:00am yesterday. As many as 52 others died from dengue infection.
Visiting some schools in the capital's Gendaria and Jatrabari on Sunday and Monday, this newspaper found that the authorities took initiatives to clean their institutions before reopening. However, steps taken up by some others were not satisfactory.
The premises of Muradpur Primary School and Muradpur Adarsha High School, both situated on the same campus in Jurain, were not clean.
There are two places on the premises where benches were piled up under tarpaulin. There was stagnant water on the tarpaulin and discarded pots were lying under the benches.
"We have already cleaned our school and its premises to reopen it," claimed Mahbubur Rahman Khan, assistant headmaster of Muradpur High School.
He, however, said keeping the school clean was very tough as it was located in the DND embankment area where waterlogging occurs due to poor drainage system.
Asked whether the city corporation conducted any anti-mosquito drive at their school, the teacher replied in the negative.
The headmaster of Muradpur Primary School also said they cleaned their building.
About the anti-mosquito drive, he said workers from the city corporation sprayed anti-mosquito chemicals at their school about a month ago. At that time, they had asked the workers to conduct such drives on a regular basis.
Brig Gen Jobaidur Rahman, chief health officer of Dhaka North City Corporation, said they started carrying out larvicide and adulticide spraying activities at schools since Monday.
All educational institutions will have to clean their institutes properly and will keep watch whether there is stagnant water. They will also have to flush their toilets as Aedes also can breed there, he said.
DSCC Chief Executive Officer Farid Ahmmad said they would conduct anti-mosquito drives at any school if the authorities concerned ask them.
"We have already conducted anti-mosquito drives at some schools upon request," he said.