Education Sector Suffers Tremendously under AIDS

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By Frederick Philander

WINDHOEK

“The first World AIDS Day was held in 1988. Who knew then, in 1988, that the fight against AIDS would be such a long-term struggle, that behaviour change would come so slowly, that two decades into this we would still be seeking leaders, heroes and heroines in the struggle against AIDS.”

This was said on Thursday by the USAID director, Gary Newton, when taking part in the Ministry of Education’s commemoration of World AIDS Day that was staged under the theme: ‘Leadership, at Government Park’.

“All of us need to step up on the leadership front and do what’s urgent, right, fair and humane, but leadership in the education sector is of particular importance. The AIDS epidemic is having a significant impact on education, and education can have a significant impact on the epidemic,” Newton said.

According to him, there is cause for despair when in this year AIDS continued to impact on teachers, administrators, learners and parents.

“But there’s cause for hope when we see the initiatives you are taking in the education sector to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS. You have developed and are ready to launch today; a “Workplace HIV and AIDS Policy for the Education Sector;” a Positive Living booklet with practical information and guidance for employees living with HIV/AIDS; and a support group for teachers affected by HIV/AIDS,” he said.

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