Funday Times

Swine flu affects Girl Guiding in Oman

The swine influenza pandemic which is caused by the H1N1 virus, transfers from one patient to another. Originally the virus was endemic among pigs. People with regular exposure to pigs are at an increased risk of swine flu infection. In humans, the symptoms of swine flu are fever, sore throat and cough and they are similar to those of influenza.

At present, swine flu is rapidly spreading throughout the world, causing many deaths. Swine flu has proliferated in Oman as well. A vaccine against swine flu has been produced to protect people from danger.

In November 2009, the health authorities have advised the public that swine flu would adversely affect children, especially infants and little children below the age of five.

Recently some schools were re-opened and began to function, but some kindergartens in some schools are still closed. The major problem is that the children have missed a lot of their class work.

A large number of scheduled programs and events have been cancelled. In addition to academic activities, the smooth functioning of extra-curricular activities too has been affected.

Swine flu has posed a major threat to Girl Guiding in the Sri Lankan School at Muscat too. The Girl Guides' camp which was scheduled to be held from 2nd to 5th October was postponed.

As a preventive measure, all schools were closed for a period of two weeks during the month of November 2009. The paper recycling project that was enthusiastically being carried out by the Guides had to be discontinued since children were advised not to handle paper that is covered in dust.

It is important for us to take care of ourselves and refrain from going unnecessarily to public places. Moreover, we should not allow the pandemic to spread. As a precautionary action, our school is carrying out a health inspection under the supervision of the Principal, Mrs. M.D.I.N Siriwardene, the Deputy Principal, Mrs.Udayakumaran, the school nurse, Mrs. Champa Mendis, and other highly qualified nurses and other teachers such as Mrs. Soma Pathmasiri, Mrs. Parameshwari, Mrs. Lakshmi, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Jayantha Munasinghe and Mr. Harain.

The Guides too are assisting them under the guidance of the Guide Commissioner, Mrs Latha Somathilake. They check each child for swine flu symptoms and if the child has even a mild cough or a headache he/she is sent home with his/her parents.

The above article was sent in last month by Manuji Bandara, a 1st Oman Girl Guide. The article describes the situation in Oman in November 2009. The Oman Girl Guides are a part of the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association's Branch for Guides on Foreign Soil.

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