New Dengue Prevention Campaign

Education in Jujuy

Only nine countries had cases of dengue in the 1970s. Today, this disease is endemic to 128 nations, while others have frequent outbreaks. In Argentina, Jujuy is one of the most affected provinces. Therefore, the Education Department of FUNCEI and FIDEC, with the support of the Rotary Club, set up a new campaign to prevent this and other infections transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

“The fight against dengue does not take place in hospitals, but in the community,” project leaders emphasized. Thus, their main goal is to contribute to the progressive reduction, season after season, of dengue, zika, and chikungunya cases. To achieve this, it is vital to remove from the environment containers that may accumulate water and become breeding grounds for the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Insects get infected after biting a sick person, they then carry the viruses that cause these infections, and transmit them when they bite another individual. Preventing mosquito bites is, therefore, another priority measure to promote good health.

This campaign is being implemented in the towns of Libertador General San Martín and San Pedro, based on three pillars:

  • Education for healthcare professionals and the community, with activities aimed at physicians, primary healthcare agents, other healthcare workers, teachers, school administrators and supervisors, 4th and 5th graders, and their families. It is expected that 1,900 students from both towns will participate.
  • A focus on the environment, to get rid of mosquito breeding grounds and thus reduce the population of disease vectors.
  • Sustainability, to achieve continuity in prevention and self-care practices.

“The project creation and approval process, alongside Rotary Buenos Aires, took almost a year of hard work,” said Cristina Stamboulian, Director of the Education Department of FIDEC and FUNCEI. Roxana Stamboulian, FIDEC Executive Director, highlighted: “Rotary Key Biscayne, together with Fundación Manos del Sur, organized the events that made this new campaign possible.” The campaign is financed with the Rotary International Global Grant. Jorge Grinpelc, Accountant and President of the Committee of Rotary Foundation District 4895 from Rotary International, got the final approval and the funds to start the campaign in July, 2020. At that time, a new challenge emerged: restructuring all actions and methods to enable the implementation of the campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic, with classes suspended and following preventive social isolation measures.

“Training initially planned as in-person was redesigned to be imparted via virtual communication tools,” explained Cintya Elmassian, Member of the Education Department of FUNCEI and FIDEC, and General Coordinator of this project. She added: “We are facing and solving connectivity problems as best we can, especially for our most populous audience: elementary school students.”

This campaign was launched on September 16, 2020. Pablo Elmassian,
Infectious Disease and Travel Medicine Specialist at FUNCEI, gave a free
virtual seminar for healthcare professionals. He discussed regional and
international epidemiological topics, clinical aspects of dengue, prevention
and treatment measures, and coinfection of dengue and COVID-19.

The educational, medical, and journalistic team at FUNCEI created all the materials used for this project. Some of the digital resources are reading material, videos, tutorials, and self-evaluation surveys based on educational resources developed for the in-person activities planned before the pandemic. With FUNCEI as coordinator, these materials were sent to Jujuy in time for the development of the campaign.

Educational Kit for Children.Students were given the book Contraataque al dengue. ¡Unite a la misión! (Fighting Back Against Dengue: Join Our Mission!) and a reusable bag with a magnifying glass and a hat. Activities challenge them to assume the role of “mosquito detectives” and identify, together with an adult, possible breeding grounds for mosquitos in their houses and neighborhoods, as well as to act appropriately to eradicate or disinfect them. The song “Cumbia del mosquito” (The Mosquito’s Cumbia), created by a musical therapist, invites them to learn in a fun and joyful way. “One of the goals is for children to become spokespersons and spread the lessons learned among their peers and extended family,” Cintya Elmassian emphasized.

The “Mosquito’s Cumbia” invites children to learn in a fun and joyful way.

This campaign is also aimed at training teachers and local healthcare pillars, so that they amplify, reinforce, and disseminate among the community messages to prevent and control the spread of dengue, zika, and chikungunya. Educators and primary healthcare agents got the book Enfermedades transmitidas por mosquitos, qué son y cómo prevenirlas (Mosquito-Borne Diseases: What They Are and How to Prevent Them). Healthcare workers also got an illustrated flip chart.

Educational Material for Teachers or Primary Healthcare Agents.

FUNCEI will carry out a virtual follow-up of the activities until the end of the campaign. They will contact leaders from each town to keep in touch with the program implementation experiences, answer questions, and channel needs that come up while dealing with the dengue, zika, and chikungunya situation. This campaign has also long-term goals: increasing prevention awareness on students, teachers, families, healthcare professionals and, through them, the rest of the community will contribute toward controlling the proliferation of the disease-transmitting mosquito and thus preventing the epidemic from expanding in time and space. 

Three Precedents


In response to the dengue epidemic, FUNCEI published Contraataque al dengue. ¿Misión imposible? (Fighting Back Against Dengue: Mission Impossible?), its first children’s book aimed at preventing this disease. It was distributed among 3,000 6th and 7th graders from several primary schools in the City of Buenos Aires and its suburbs. Teachers addressed these topics with the children and their families.


FUNCEI held its second prevention campaign, in collaboration with the Ministry of Territorial Development and Habitat of Buenos Aires, in seven family action centers located in low and moderate income neighborhoods. It had the participation of 500 children, their families, and teachers. Each student got a copy of the latest book, Contraataque al dengue. ¡Unite a la misión! (Fighting Back Against Dengue: Join Our Mission!) and a “detective kit”. FUNCEI also delivered flip charts for educators and healthcare pillars in these towns, for them to spread these messages in the community. Based on statements from the authorities and teachers, this campaign had a very positive effect, as concrete actions were taken to get rid of mosquito breeding grounds in participants’ houses and in the community in general. Moreover, with the help of their teachers, children created prevention awareness materials to share with their neighbors.


On November 13, FUNCEI launched in Jujuy the Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya Prevention and Control Campaign, still ongoing in 2020. This campaign started with press conferences and was followed by activities aimed at officials from the Education, Health and Environmental Management sectors; the National Disease Vector Control Coordination Area; teachers from the schools that participated in the campaign; primary healthcare agents; and representatives from the Regional Healthcare Emergency Taskforce and the Ledesma sugar mill.

Pablo Elmassian, Infectious Disease Specialist at FUNCEI, delivered two medical training sessions. The members of the audience got the book Enfermedades transmitidas por mosquitos, qué son y cómo prevenirlas (Mosquito-Borne Diseases: What They Are and How to Prevent Them), published by FUNCEI. After this, Cintya Elmassian was in charge of the teacher-training sessions. She also held a workshop for 55 4th graders from 6 of the 18 schools that participated in the campaign. Each of these students got a copy of the book Contraataque al dengue. ¡Unite a la misión! (Fighting Back Against Dengue: Join Our Mission!), core material of this campaign.

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