The Lancet Student

Latest blog post:Project Flu Buster

This blog was submitted by Wakaas Janjua on 22nd July 2014.
Tagged with Prevention, Infectious Diseases, school, hygiene, education, School Workshop, Health Campaign

Despite recent flu outbreaks I had noticed an increasing lack of education on the basic concepts of hygiene across school children in the UK. This, in particular, has affected primary schools in my area, where an increasing number of pupils require time off school with the common cold or more seriously the flu from year to year. If only the spreading of bacteria and viruses could be prevented or more realistically hindered. As a result I took it upon myself to launch a health campaign named ‘Project Flu Buster’; an organisation dedicated to increasing the practice of good hygiene amongst primary schoolchildren.

A team of sixth formers from King Edward Five Ways, led by myself, developed interactive workshops and delivered them in several primary schools across the region of Birmingham, educating the pupils about the spreading of ‘germs’ and practicing a good level of hygiene. Each workshop involved four different stations, teaching the pupils about the causes, symptoms, spreading and prevention of ‘flu using a series of fun and interactive stations. Groups of around six pupils moved from station to station after ten minute intervals.

At the ‘causes’ station the pupils were taught about how dangerous ‘germs’ entered the body and caused disease; the use of small plastic army soldiers were used to demonstrate our body’s defense system and how it is attacked. At the ‘symptoms’ station the pupils were educated on the signs of a person having a cold/flu, with a mix and match activity to match images to the names of symptoms and their corresponding medicines. Slime was also used to demonstrate mucus. At the ‘prevention’ stage the students were told how to improve their immune systems for example by having their 5 a day, frequent exercise, and how to prevent spreading the flu/cold. Demonstrations of ‘Catch it, bin it, kill it’ by the pupils were used, with the best demonstration gaining a prize. At the ‘spreading’ station the pupils were taught how people spread germs; the use of a spray and red dye were used to demonstrate the vast number of tiny droplets emitted when we sneeze. The use of the dye was then used to show how germs are spread from one person’s hand to another. Finally, we ended each workshop with a quiz awarding a prize to the team who answered correctly the most questions.

Our most successful examples were Woodcock Hill, Nonsuch and St Peters Primary Schools, where we were asked to repeat our workshop for other year groups, due to our informative and engaging nature. Delivering the presentations to a variety of age groups required for us to adapt our presentation to suit the audience; examples of changes included simplifying concepts, and involving more activities. For example, when we were delivering a workshop to Year 1, we spent the majority of the time using activities for example allowing more pupils to do demonstration of ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’, and more using the spray. This made the workshop more engaging, ensuring the pupils stayed engrossed in the presentation rather than becoming uninterested.

This project was a great experience and it was immensely rewarding to witness pupils who knew so little about basic hygiene leave our workshop with a much greater awareness towards the spreading of bacteria and viruses. I hope that this more cautious attitude the pupils have attained will spread throughout the schools. In the new academic year, I hope to extend my project by delivering workshops to even more primary schools in Birmingham and lead a larger team.