Educate Primary School Children About HIV Virus

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Principal of Workmans Primary, Anthea Newton-Gadsby accepted the prizes for first place and third place in the poster competition on behalf of the students who represented the school. ??
(Image: K. Gooding)
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If the spread of the HIV virus is to be halted, primary school children must be given a new level of thinking so as to effect behavioural change during their teenage years.

That view was expressed today by Acting Permanent Secretary in the Division of Family and Youth, Esworth Reid, as he addressed a prize-giving ceremony for the winners of the Bureau of Gender Affairs and the Ministry of Education’s HIV/AIDS poster competition, at the Valley Resource Centre, St. George.

Mr. Reid said school was a very important channel through which young people could be educated about the practices of healthy lifestyles, sexual health and communicable diseases, such as HIV and AIDS. "… We must use the school curriculum, we must use the media, and we must use peer outreach to get our message across," he advised.

Stating that the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on children were many, he said Barbados was fortunate to have a very good maternal and child health programme, therefore, the incident of mother-to-child transmission had been greatly reduced.

He told the gathering of primary school children and their teachers that it was important to develop HIV/AIDS programmes for all levels of the society. "The Bureau of Gender Affairs has initiated a programme which focuses on the nexus between HIV and AIDS and gender, helping persons to understand how their roles and behaviours as men and women can impact on the spread of HIV. Implementing this sensitisation programme within the schools and the community is very crucial in getting the information to children and their families," he stated.

The Acting Permanent Secretary underscored the importance of knowledge in this fight and urged the children to seek information from a trusted adult. "Don’t depend only on your friends for information about HIV and AIDS because they may not know all the right answers. Misinformation is just as bad as having no information at all," he surmised.

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The vicotrious Workmans Primary??team. (Image: K. Gooding)??

The poster competition, His Business, Her Business – HIV is Everybody’s Business, was held last October for Class Three pupils at the St. George-based primary schools. Workman’s Primary won the first and third prizes and the pupils who worked on the winning pieces were: Reanna Payne, Shamilia Marshall, Joshua Simns, Makayla King and Rheanna Augustine; while Asher Squires of Cuthbert Moore Primary won the second prize.

Prizes were also given to Reanna Payne of Workman’s Primary for Most Creative, Most Original and Most Impactful, and Kelly-ann Byer of St. Luke’s Primary for the Most Colourful poster. St. Luke’s and Ellerton primary schools submitted the most entries.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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