New HIV syllabus starts
Despite the fact that HIV transmission can be prevented, each year hundreds of young people are infected with the virus; in 2009 alone, there were 890,000 new HIV infections amongst young people aged 15-24years, according to World Health Organisation statistics.
It is from that background that the Canada African Schools Partnership, a civil society organisation fighting HIV in schools, initiated Smart Choices, a programme geared to training young people about basic Aids skills. “The programme was successful in South Africa and I requested my Canada and US friends to start it in Uganda,” Mr Moses Isabirye Lyagoba, the country director, says. “We have started training teachers from six schools around Entebbe to start the programme,” Mr Lyagoba says. The schools are Mary Reparatrix Secondary School, Entebbe Junior School and Bugonga Boys Primary School.
Others, Chadwick Namate Primary School, St Johns Primary School, and Entebbe Comprehensive Secondary School, were the six schools where the programme will be tested before being taken to other schools in the country. According to Mr Lyagoba, the programme is different from the Presidential Initiative on Aids Strategy for Communication to Youth (PIASCY) because it has a curriculum being incorporated with other regular subjects.
Entebbe Mayor, Vincent Kayanja DePaul Gonza, said the programme will help to reduce stigma and discrimination by dispelling false information that can lead to fear and blame as stigma often makes people reluctant to be tested for HIV. “Aids education can help to prevent stigma,” Mr Kayanja said recently while meeting officials from the organisation. He pledged full support for the programme in schools.
Mr Curcis Brownie, the Assistant Administrator Beacon for Hope International, said that the organisation has designed a curriculum and trained teachers, who will further train other teachers.