HIV and AIDS Policy to Complement Health and Family Life Education

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A policy on HIV and AIDS for the education sector will complement the Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) Programme within the school system.

This was stressed today by Deputy Permanent Secretary, Curtis Pilgrim, at United Nations House, Marine Gardens, Christ Church, as he addressed the start of a workshop aimed at developing an HIV Policy for the education sector.

Acknowledging that the policy was but one tool to be used by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Mr. Pilgrim told stakeholders: "It is also our pledge to devise strategies that will ensure that young people have the knowledge, values and skills to protect themselves and their partners from HIV through the school HFLE programme. To achieve this, teachers will receive the appropriate training to deliver the curriculum effectively.

"The development of this policy will complement the HFLE Programme and, in turn, the policy will supplement other national instruments that have been developed to fight HIV in a region that is second only to sub-Sahara Africa in prevalence rates."

He listed among these the Code of Practice on HIV and AIDS and other Life Threatening Illnesses for the Public Sector that was developed by the Ministry of Labour and the National Strategic Plan for HIV Prevention and Control 2008 – 2013 from the National HIV/AIDS Commission.

The policy development workshop, which has the support of the Health and Human Development Division of the CARICOM Secretariat and the Education Development Centre of Boston, Massachusetts, is expected to bring several benefits to the Ministry.

It is anticipated that appropriate responses would be outlined in given situations; areas for action would be identified and prioritised; roles and responsibilities assigned; and the rights of students, teachers and other workers protected. ??

According to the Deputy Permanent Secretary, the Ministry also expects that there will be a significant impact on the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in Barbados, particularly among the younger population.?? As he told stakeholders that they were critical to the process, Mr. Pilgrim said: "Teachers, workers, principals, unions, students and youth leaders, parents and interest groups all have valid inputs that will make this policy comprehensive and responsive to all the players in the sector…

"Your gratification will come in the acknowledgement of your contribution to the development of a critical sectorial policy for the country in which you live, work and play and that you want to make better for your children and your children’s children," Mr. Pilgrim concluded.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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