Corporate Communications Director of Zoomlion Ghana Limited, Emma Akyea-Boakye, is urging Ghanaians, especially those with children in senior high schools, to fumigate their homes against bed bug infestation.
She observed the students unknowingly always carry the bed bugs from to their homes to schools and vice versa, a situation she said, continue to impede the fight against the blood-sucking insects in schools across the country.
Authorities at the various senior high schools where Zoomlion Ghana Limited is currently undertaking a nationwide fumigation and disinfection exercise against bed bugs and coronavirus have complained about how difficult it has become in eradicating bed bugs in their schools.
Although they said they occasionally fumigate their facilities against bed bugs, the insects reappear after a short period; something they said has become a worrying situation for the students who have been having sleepless nights.
Headmistress of Ghana Senior High School (Ghanasco), Hajia Amina Musah, told journalists Thursday that “We’ve been spraying and spraying but they are not going away; they’re just a nuisance”
She said the rate at which the insects are feeding on the students was disturbing, noting some of the students usually develop skin rashes and are forced to seek medical attention.
“They are feeding on the students. We are told that it doesn’t give them any disease but they suck blood and I believe that a million bed bugs can suck a pint of blood from a student; it gives them rashes…so every now and then they have to go to hospital to seek attention for the rashes,” she said.
For Hajia Musah, the bed bugs have overstayed their welcome in the school, and thus welcomed the ongoing nationwide fumigation of schools describing it as a good intervention.
She was hopeful the exercise will now minimize or even eradicate the insects completely, stating “We just hope that this is a permanent solution. We hope that this chemical Zoomlion is using will eradicate the insects once and for all”.
Assistant Headmaster of the Tamale Senior High School (TAMASCO) in charge of Administration, Baba Abdulai, said the fumigation exercise has come at the right time because the school has been battling with the insects in their dormitories.
“This particular exercise has come at the right time, at a time all the schools in the country have been faced with this particular challenge. We will like the government to periodically fumigate all the schools, at least three times in a year,” he appealed.
He said the school has over the year’s been faced with bed bugs and other insects, and that many of their students develop skin rashes and itches due to the insects.
The school, he said, has on several occasions fumigated their facilities against the insects but the students keep complaining
He said the insects have infected the mattresses and chop boxes of the students which they take home during vacations and return with it to infect the school after the fumigation.
“We are trying to contain the situation” Mr Abdulai said, and asked parents to “try and disinfect their [children’s] boxes and mattresses so that when they don’t come back [to school] with the same insects again”.
“We believe and we are hopeful that this exercise will solve, if not all, part of the bed bug infestation” he stated.
Commenting on the complaints, Mrs Akyea-Boakye said that since students carry the bed bugs into their homes, it is advisable that parents fumigate their homes as well to prevent the students from taking the insects to their campuses.
“The reason I’m calling for this is that when the children move they move with the bed bugs so now that they’ve moved from the schools to the homes they carried some eggs to their homes. And if they’re leaving from homes to the schools…they are likely to carry the eggs backs…It will mean that you will keep re-infesting the school with that and it doesn’t help anybody,” she stated.
She also proposed a quarterly fumigation of the schools for four consecutive times to totally eradicate bed bugs.
“To the government, I’d propose that quarterly this exercise is repeated for about four times to be sure that we have ended the cycle of bed bugs. And to the general public, I’d say, try and get your house to be fumigated”.
On the back of the closure of schools due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, government through the Ghana Education Service contracted Zoomlion Ghana Limited to fumigate all public secondary schools against bed bugs and covid-19.
Hundreds of schools in the Ashanti, Ahafo, Bono, Bono East, Central, Eastern, Oti, Volta, Northern, North East and Savannah regions have had their various facilities fumigated and disinfected against bed bugs and covid-19.