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10.12.2005 Education

Education sector most seriously exposed to HIV/AIDS

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Asuofua (Ash), Dec 10, GNA - Mr Eddy Obeng-Darko, Atwima-Nwabiagya District Director of Education, has observed that the education sector with a workforce of over 240,000 and about seven million youth learners, is the most vital sector seriously exposed to the HIV/AIDS menace. He said the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS remained a serious threat to humanity and the country's social and economic development. Mr Obeng-Darko made the observation at the end of a four-day HIV/AIDS workshop for junior secondary school (JSS) teachers in the District at Asuofua.

The 250 participants were the last batch of teachers who have so far benefited from the training programme, bringing the total number to 553.

Organised by the Atwima-Nwabiagya District Education Directorate, the workshop, which aimed at equipping the teachers with adequate skills on the HIV/AIDS as an integrated subject in the school curriculum, was funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom and the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a pilot programme in five selected regions. They are Ashanti, Greater Accra, Central, Eastern and Volta regions.

Mr Obeng-Darko said the spread of the virus was seriously reducing the supply of manpower needs for the education sector, affecting quality education and disrupting education policies and programmes. The Ministry of Education and Sports, he said, had therefore developed a comprehensive intervention strategy to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among its workforce.

Mr Obeng-Darko implored the participants to intensify the education of their students, pupils and the entire society on the need for total abstinence from sex before marriage.

Madam Irene Comfort Badu, Schools Health Education Programme (SHEP) Co-ordinator, said the sector aimed at building the capacity of the teachers to help reduce the rate of infection, behavioural risks and vulnerability associated with the HIV/AIDS menace.

Mr Baffour Asare-Bediako, an Assistant Director of Education at the directorate, who presided, was optimistic that the participants would promote positive health choices in the school, communities and also assist the students and pupils to take informed decisions.

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