Wednesday, September 15, 2010
HIV/AIDS CAMPAIGN AT COTONOU SCHOOLS
HIV/AIDS CAMPAIGN AT SCHOOLS
In spite of all the human efforts aimed at arresting the spread of the one epidemic that has defied all known medical and unorthodox therapy, HIV/AIDS continues to sound to many people as some sort of alien from outer space. Most people especially in the rural areas of African environments are never able to differentiate between HIV/AIDS and other common sexually-transmitted diseases such as Syphilis or Gonorrhea; and so attempt to treat them with the same approach. Among the academic class in the cities, the level of awareness is not appreciably higher than the urban scenario.
This conclusion is informed by the level of response, participation and enthusiasm shown by students of one of the international secondary schools in Cotonou – Benin republic, during a campaign organized by members of International Association of Science, Economics and Commerce students (Association International des Etudiants en Science, Economie et Commerce (AIESEC), drawn from 17 countries around the world. AIESEC has its headquarters in Canada.
During the workshop which lasted over one month, students of Greater Tomorrow International School had to fight for space which forced the organizers to reduce the participation age and other criteria in order to accommodate the overwhelming demand. Parents were no less enthusiastic in encouraging their wards to get really involved while lobbying for an extension of the original time table.
According to the Co-ordinator of the program Master Say-Ali Mouhamadou who happens to be the senior prefect of Greater Tomorrow International School, some of the topics discussed include Handling Teens, Sexually Transmitted Infection, HIV/AIDS, Teens pregnancy and Abortion, Teens and Sexuality, among others.
At the end of the workshop, participants were at a colourful ceremony issued with certificates, male and female condoms and T-shirts.
An estimated 22.4 million adults and children were living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2008. During that year, an estimated 1.4 million Africans died from AIDS. Around 14.1 million children have lost one or both parents to the epidemic. The following data shows HIV/AIDS prevalence in Benin Republic as at the period 2008:
People living with AIDS = 190,000; Percentage of Adults aged between 15 – 49 = 1.2%; Women = 37,000; Children = 5,400;
AIDS Deaths = 3,300; Orphans due to HIV/AIDS = 29,000. Source: GRADES-AFRICA® http://vinfish.blogspot.com
According to some of the participants, the workshop has opened their eyes to so many health and sex-related information that are not ordinarily taught in the school curriculum. They expressed the need to have more of such extra-curricular activities for the benefit of the teeming number of endangered youths both in schools and around the communities.