Dengue Patrol 2019 saw 131 schools nationwide organising dengue awareness campaigns in their schools and communities.
The competition is an ongoing effort since 2011, organised by pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur together with the Health and Education ministries.
The winning schools attended the prize-giving ceremony at Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral.
Education Ministry Daily School Management Division deputy director Faridah Yang Razali represented Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching.
“Year after year, we continue to see results that prove the message of dengue awareness and importance of prevention is being conveyed and reinforced among students and the community, ” said Faridah.
She added that dengue was endemic in Malaysia and one of the ways to fight it was by monitoring the surroundings at every tier of society, regardless of age or location.
Dengue Patrol 2019 winners were SK Pasir Panjang, Selangor, in the primary school category and SMK Baru Bintulu, Sarawak for secondary schools.
SK Pasir Panjang headmaster Mohd Yusof Basir said the pupils were very enthusiastic about the programme.
“They get very excited as it involves performances and community service activities, ” Yusof said.
“Through this, they are able to learn about dengue indirectly.
“If we teach this in a more serious environment, they might not take an interest in this issue, but in a fun campaign involving singing, dancing and acting, they are more receptive.”
SMK Baru Bintulu principal Nurul Aleena Ruman Abdullah said the campaign managed to increase awareness of dengue in their community.
“In Bintulu, dengue awareness is still low but since the programme started, we were able to share information about dengue in our communities.
“We will continue with our efforts to spread awareness even after the competition since the number of dengue cases in Sarawak is still high, ” she said.
She said the school incorporated elements of Sarawak culture to make its participation stand out.
The participating schools carried out exhibitions, educational skits, art competitions, gotong-royong and interviews with health officials over the course of six months as part of their campaign entries.
The competition also had a performing arts element, online dengue quiz and the schools had to submit campaign videos.
Malaysia and Brunei Sanofi Pasteur general manager Camille de Lataillade said, “We believe that prevention is the most important step in public health threats.
“We hope that Dengue Patrol will continue to be successful among young Malaysians in instilling the importance of prevention and prompting them to take the right steps to protect themselves and others around them now and in the future.”
She said Dengue Patrol was aimed at educating, empowering and encouraging students to tackle dengue in a creative and engaging manner.
“Every year we see an increase in participation. This is very encouraging because it shows that thousands of students have engaged with their friends, families and communities to convey information that could save their lives.
“Year after year, the campaigns help the public understand the risks of dengue, how it can be prevented and encourages every individual to take a proactive role in fighting dengue, ” she said.
De Lataillade added that there were plans to organise a programme to raise awareness of influenza — another dangerous and infectious disease.
“We hope to roll out a new school engagement programme next year with the aim of creating awareness about influenza, how serious it can be, who is at risk and what we can do to prevent it.
“The level of awareness on influenza is quite low but the number of incidents is rather high.
“We plan on having a similar approach to the Dengue Patrol programme due to its success, ” she said, adding that activities were being planned to engage the public through social media.
“Sanofi Pasteur believes in a world where no one dies or suffers from a vaccine-preventable disease, ” de Lataillade added.