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Bedbugs in schools serious health issue : GES Director General

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem
Students take out bedbugs from mattresses

The Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr Jacob Kor, has described the recent invasion of blood-sucking bedbugs in the country’s senior high schools as a “serious health issue” and directed all regional directors to seek permission to close down schools for fumigation.

He explained that schools in session that are confronted with the problem would be given permission to let the students go home to make way for the fumigation process to halt the spread of the bedbugs.

Mr Kor, who was speaking to the Daily Graphic in Kumasi, after the launch of a 190-page book, The Cockcrow, to be used by JHS pupils as their literature book in Kumasi, said depending on the intensity of the problem, a school could be given three days to fumigate before allowing the students back to the campus.

Last week, the Daily Graphic reported that at least five senior high schools in the Western Region had been invaded by bedbugs, causing discomfort and health problems for students and hampering academic work.

The affected schools include the Sekondi College, St John’s Senior High School and Ghana Secondary/Technical School (GSTS), all in the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolis. The others are the Esiama Senior

High School in the Ellembelle District and Nsein Senior High School in the Nzema East District.

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In April last year, the Daily Graphic reported that almost all the schools in the Central Region, and in the Volta and Ashanti regions had reported invasion of bedbugs.

Mr Kor noted that those were serious health issues that should be taken seriously, and pointed out that as part of the directive, the regional directors must work with the headmasters of the schools as well as other stakeholders to address the situation.

Effects
In all the affected schools, teachers and boarding students complained of skin infections and sleeplessness owing to the attacks from the bedbugs. These fast-growing insects live and multiply in clothing, bedding and mattresses of boarding students and invade the residences of teachers living on campus.

Due to the situation, boarding students, both sexes, prefer to sleep on the bare floor while others sleep on the corridors.