Tema, Dec 11, GNA - A total of 1,138 teachers in the Tema Municipality have been trained within four weeks to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS. The programme formed part of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service strategy to prevent new infections in the education sector to promote behaviour change among teachers and pupils.
Participants were taken through the basic facts of HIV/AIDS the social and economic impact of the disease, school HIV/AIDS alert initiative and how to care for people living with the disease.
At the closing ceremony the Municipal Director of Education, Mrs Lucy Kwapong reiterated the call on teachers to avoid use of condom as teaching aids but to emphasise on total abstinence from sex. She also advised the teachers to make the children aware of the other ways one can contract the disease that is through sharing of sharp objects, using unsterilised instruments at barbering and hairdressing saloons. She said although information on the disease has not been catered for on the school's syllabus, teachers have been taught how to incorporate the message in whatever subject they teach.
Mrs Lucy Kwapong urged the participants to make use of the knowledge they have acquired to effect the behavioural change of school children and people in their communities on prevention of the spread of the disease.
The Programme Co-ordinator, Mrs Felicia Amoah, outlined the critical role teachers play in the development of the future workforce and the negative impact the death of teachers infected with the disease could have on a large number of youth and children in the country. She further stated that cases of the disease from neighbouring countries have given a glimpse of what Ghana may face in the next years if care was not taken and cited, for instance that, "in Zambia, AIDS affects nearly half of the total number of teachers in that country every year.
The Programme Co-ordinator indicated that the current surveillance by the Ministry of Education and the Ghana AIDS Commission, which gives the prevalence rate at 3.1 per cent shows that the country has taken almost 20 years to reduce the prevalent rate by 0.4 per cent. It is said that education is the social vaccine for the prevention of the spread of the disease in the absence of a cure and teachers are the potential allies in administering this vaccine. She therefore expressed the hope that the information and knowledge acquired at the workshop would make the integration of HIV/AIDS issue into the Basic School Curricular very effective to protect and safeguard the people and also bring down the prevalence rate in the country.