Combating infectious diseases through hygiene in a school context: an experience report

Title: Combating infectious diseases through hygiene in a school context: an experience report

Authors: Mayara Raquel de Jesus Castro, Larissa de Araújo Correia Teixeira

NMO:  IFMSA Brazil 


Email: [email protected]

Infectious and parasitic diseases are caused by a biological agent such as viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites. These are communicable diseases, by direct or indirect contact with infected individuals. Among those related to body hygiene and the child population, which cause more epidemics in Brazil, are influenza, hepatitis A and E, ascariasis, hookworm, pediculosis and scabies.

Although the epidemiological situation of communicable diseases is showing significant changes, observed through the patterns of morbidity and mortality worldwide, this group of diseases continues to offer challenges to prevention programs in view of the agents that suffer genetic modifications and spread rapidly, such as the current influenza pandemic, as well as the lack of knowledge and basic sanitation for the population in developing countries. That is why it is extremely important to highlight the first pilar of prevention: hygiene.

Because of this, it was proposed by the Public Health Committee of the IFMSA BRAZIL Unit, in the State of Sergipe, in June 2018, to carry out an action that addressed the care and the importance of adequate body hygiene in prepubescent children in a public school. Although they were older children and, so to speak, had a better understanding, they were also undergoing bodily changes with which they require greater cleaning care.. However, it was noticeable that they still did not have much knowledge about proper hygiene, and, for this reason, infestation of diseases such as pediculosis and scabies were quite common in the school routine, in addition to the bad smell exhaled by the feet, armpits, hair, regions of folds on the part of some students, causing other problems such as bullying.

 Precisely because it is a demand from the school, requested by the pedagogical team, we carried out recreational activities in which children were able to learn why and how to perform the correct hygiene, including with a great focus on hand washing. At the end of the intervention, we did the impact assessment on the students through their reports and drawings that we asked them to do, as well as we questioned the teachers, a few weeks after the action, about the children’s evolution and we had very positive feedback about our activities in the lives of those students.

Despite the significant reduction in morbidity and mortality in this group of diseases, in Brazil, there is a demand picture with better hygiene care, which makes populations vulnerable to diseases that should have already been overcome. Thus, early learning by children is essential in order to improve the preventive factor for infectious and parasitic diseases.


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