800,000 students to get mosquito repellent, tips on prevention amid dengue peak season

Senior Parliamentary Secretary of Sustainability and the Environment Baey Yam Keng distributing mosquito repellent to Pei Tong Primary pupils. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Anjana Rishikaa, 10, has heard about dengue and how many people who have the disease get high fever.

The Primary 4 pupil at Pei Tong Primary School in Clementi said: "I don't want that to happen to any of my relatives and friends."

On Thursday (July 28), she was among 1,500 pupils from the school who were each given a pamphlet with information on how to prevent the spread of the virus and a 30ml bottle of mosquito repellent.

The school is the first destination in an exercise by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Temasek Foundation that will see 800,000 pre-school to secondary school students receive the items amid the current dengue peak season. The majority of students are expected to get them by end-August.

On the sidelines of the launch at the school on Thursday, Senior Parliamentary Secretary of Sustainability and the Environment Baey Yam Keng said: "We want to protect our young from dengue. We know that the Aedes mosquito is active during the daytime, and our kids in school spend more than half their day in the school compound.

"So it's important to ensure that the school is a safe place for them."

According to statistics from NEA, 21,901 cases of dengue have been reported this year, which is more than four times the total number of reported cases in 2021 - 5,258. A total of nine deaths due to dengue have been reported this year, with eight cases reported from the April to June period.

As at July 25, there are 297 active dengue clusters, with 93 of them in the red zone, which NEA defines as an area with 10 or more cases. Dengue is spread through the bite of a female Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Located in Clementi Avenue 5, which is a dengue red zone, Pei Tong is also doing its part in the dengue fight, through an interactive online game that aims to raise awareness about the dangers of dengue.

The game, which uses elements such as quizzes that involve picking out true or false statements, is the brainchild of teacher Noelle Teh.

Ms Chan Wen Hui, another teacher at the school, said: "The interactive game is a way to help the students absorb the information better, as opposed to just a top-down, frontal manner of teaching.

"They get to play the game on the iPad, which is more interactive, and it helps them to remember the information on how to guard against dengue better."

Anjana said she is putting what she has learnt into practice - applying mosquito repellent regularly and wearing clothes with long sleeves so that she does not get bitten by the Aedes mosquito.

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