Africa: Strengthening Prevention and Control of Covid-19 in Schools Through School Health Clubs

Members and patrons of Public and Private School Health Clubs were sensitized on prevention and control of COVID-19 from 03 to 09 November 2020 in the four educational zones. This activity was organized by the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the World Health Organization with the support of the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.

Evidence-based information and facts about COVID-19 were shared to the trainees to help reducing the students' fears and anxieties around the disease and support their ability to cope with any secondary impacts in their lives. It was also an opportunity to build the capacity of the school health clubs members and patrons to strengthen their knowledge and skills on basic microbiology, COVID-19, Infection Prevention and Control , standard precautions regarding hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene, the concept of social distancing and the importance of wearing Personal Protection Equipment including face mask, face shield, gloves and goggles.

Learning took place through interactive sessions, demonstrations, viewing of videos and group discussion. During breakout sessions, students and patrons reflected on their respective roles as critical thinkers, effective communicators and active citizens in preventing and addressing stigma associated with COVID-19. Participants also discussed the importance of school environment safety, how to address mental health and psycho-social support needs and high-risk behaviours observed at schools. A module handbook for Infection Prevention and Control Practices was distributed to the trainees as training tool.

11 sensitization workshops were conducted across the four educational zones in mainland of Mauritius to reach both students and patrons from public and private schools. A total of 98 patrons and 157 students are now equipped to act as good mentors and peer leaders in their respective health clubs. This activity will be replicated in Rodrigues in January 2021.

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