A massive fumigation exercise against bed bugs and other dangerous insects has commenced in public senior high and technical schools as well as special needs schools in the Central Region.
Dormitories of 103 schools in the region are being sprayed with a WHO-approved pesticide to eradicate bed bugs and other insects which have become nuisance to students and school authorities.
Also, all the selected schools are being disinfected against the deadly coronavirus outbreak which has infected more than 2,719 people in the country and killed 18 of them with 294 recoveries as at May 5.
Areas disinfected against covid-19 included classrooms, administration blocks, libraries, laboratories, offices, assembly halls and dining halls. The 10-day exercise has so far seen more than 35 schools fumigated and disinfected.
They include Adisadel College, Ghana National College, Aggrey Memorial SHS, Wesley Girls’ High School, Mfantseman Girls’ SHS, Holy Child SHS, Kwegyir Aggrey Senior Technical School, Methodist SHS, Edinaman SHS, Mankesim Senior Technical School, St. Augustine’s College, Mfantsipim College, and Fettehman SHS.
Bed bug infestations in second cycle schools across the country, particularly boarding schools, have become a major concern to school authorities and students over the years as some have had to spend scarce funds to occasionally fumigate against the tiny insects.
The Ghana Education Service in partnership with the waste management giant, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, took advantage of the closure of schools across the country to fumigate and disinfect all SHSs to create a safe and enabling environment for students and teachers when school resumes.
At almost all the schools so far fumigated and disinfected in the Central Region, authorities revealed how students have been complaining about the insect which causes skin irritation and itchiness in people.
For the school authorities, the decision to fumigate and disinfect SHS in the country was a welcoming one as it would save them some money.
“We’ve been spending so much on fumigation so this [fumigation exercise] will be a big relief for the school,” Assistant headmistress in charge of Domestic at Mfantseman Girls’, Mrs Eunice Mary Yeboah told journalists.
She said the school regularly spends money to fumigate its six dormitories against bed bugs but did not say how much.
Central Regional Manager of Zoomlion, Ernest Osei described the exercise so far as “very successful” and recommended that such fumigation exercise is carried out at least every six months in order to rid the schools of the insects.
“…we would recommend to government that such exercise like this should be carried out at least every six months so that within two or three years we will curtail the disease in the secondary schools,” he stated.
Mr Osei indicated that the lack of personal hygiene was a major factor to bed bugs infestation in schools, stating that “if there is no proper personal hygiene in the most dormitories, which causes some of these things”.
He advised school authorities to be cautious in allowing students to bring back their items and belongings which they took home as it has the tendency to cause re-infestation.
“What we are doing at the moment, we should be very mindful that there shouldn’t be re-infestation because it is likely the things the students took back to their homes when they bring those things back definitely there will be re-infestation,” he stated.
In his view, regular fumigation and practicing personal hygienic will help to control bed bugs in the schools once and for all.
“For me, I think with this exercise, students who took their mattresses out shouldn’t be allowed [to bring them back to the dormitory]; new mattresses should be given to them so that the re-infestation I am talking about wouldn’t occur,” the Regional Manager advised.