PRESS RELEASE – STUDENTS around the island were granted the opportunity to tap into their creativity and become involved in efforts at controlling the rodent population in Saint Lucia.
The Environmental Health Division in the Department of Health and Wellness recently hosted a rat trap competition allowing students to make cost effective and innovative rodent control mechanisms.
The competition was aimed at raising awareness on leptospirosis and providing students with the opportunity to play a part in reducing the impact of rodents on the population.
Environmental Health Officer Charletta Charles says she is very pleased with the level of student participation and also parent and teacher involvement in the competition.
“The number we saw submitted; like I said we had over 44 traps submitted. To me, it was a true testament of not only how creative and innovative our students are, but it also showed the dedication of parents and teachers. From the crafting and construction of the traps, we could see that parents helped the students. During the judging process, we heard a lot of “my mummy helped me,” “my daddy screwed in the screws,” “my sister helped me.”
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James says it is important that students are knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms of leptospirosis.
“Sometimes it might look like a simple flu or viral illness, back pain, headache, muscle aches but it also progress with high fever, urine can change color and get very dark, very bright yellow, bright orange. The eyes can change and get yellow and we know that if it is not treated, it can actually have fatal consequences. We want everyone to know and children to remember that leptospirosis can be treated, it can be cured. So if you or anybody around, observe your family members, if anybody has those signs and they home and have those signs and taking medication and not getting better, encourage them to go to a health practitioner where they can get an antibiotic to cure them and prevent them from getting worse with this disease.”
Joshua Rene of the Odsan Combined School took first place in the rat trap competition while Vianni Plummer of the Dame Pearlette Primary School came in second. Third place went to Antonio Phillip of the Dame Pearlette Primary School.
The innovative and creative rat trap award went to Tanisha Jules of the Canon Laurie Anglican Primary School. (DOH&W)