Educating Students to Prevent Zoonotic Diseases
School Zoonotic Diseases Awareness Program
The Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) — Bintulu Campus was selected as a host to organize a two-day program focused on assessing and creating awareness on zoonotic diseases among young students from 10 to 11 July 2017. The School Zoonotic Diseases Awareness Program is a project designed by Dr. Mohd Mokrish Md. Ajat from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine UPM — Serdang Campus and Dr. Juriah Kamaludeen from the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences UPM — Bintulu Campus.
This project is an collaborative effort with researchers from the Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and University of Surrey, United Kingdom. Students from SK (A) Majlis Islam Sarawak primary school were selected to attend this program. This school, in particular, was chosen since it is part of the “Sekolah Angkat” program for UPM — Bintulu Campus.
The awareness program aimed to introduce students to different activities to assess their level of awareness on pathogens, methods of zoonotic transmission, and zoonotic diseases. Around 20 volunteers were trained to conduct activities throughout the program. With the alarming increase of zoonotic diseases in Malaysia, such as leptospirosis and rabies, this program is essential to educate children on the importance of preventing zoonotic diseases. The students had a lot of fun and they were actively involved during the activities conducted by facilitators and volunteers.
This program is made possible by the community-based extension grant from the Malaysia One Health University Network and the USAID One Health Workforce project. This is the second time this type of program was conducted in Malaysia and it is the first time in Sarawak.