By Anna Ingwafa
The Ministry of Education introduced the first ever Education Sector Employee Health Day at Ongwediva College of Education in Oshana Region on Friday.
At the opening, Minister of Education Nangolo Mbumba told a large number of teachers that the purpose and main objectives of holding such a day are to expose and provide education sector employees and their families with health prevention messages, and to provide and encourage uptake and voluntary testing and counseling, for all education sector employees.
“The Ministry of Education is committed to positioning the ministry as not only a trendsetter in Namibia, but as having the foresight to provide a national platform such as the Edusector health days to allow staff and their families to know their health status with regard to blood sugar level, blood pressure, cholesterol level, cholera, malaria, TB and HIV,” said Mbumba.
He noted that these illnesses are all treatable and if detected timeously, most of them can be controlled if not cured with medication, and in all cases they can be prevented and their effect can be reduced if people are educated on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
Mbumba said his ministry decided to embark on the national road show to “talk” to Namibians in their region and in their own language in order to touch the hearts and minds of the people.
“We have seen many similar campaigns – with the best intentions and important messages – start off really well with lavish media launches and gala events, only to fizzle out and fail to deliver on their original promises. This is primarily because of lack of direction and inability to get the message down to the hearts and minds of people who matter. We are determined to ensure that this will not happen with the Edusectoral Health Day project.”
Speaking on behalf of the Oshana Education Director, Deputy Director Immanuel Aipanda welcomed the large crowd of school teachers and learners, and reminded them that their health status matters not only to themselves but to the nation at large, because if they are sick and not treated, then they can forget about providing quality education to learners.
He appealed to them to take full advantage of the opportunity provided to them – “if you are given a clean bill, you would take more care as you would want to keep it that way. On the other hand, if something is amiss with your health you would be put on treatment right away or in the alternative, referred to hospital for further treatment,” said Aipanda.
On behalf of the Go-vernor of Oshana, Ondangwa Councillor Ismael Uugwanga told the gathering that their attendance at the launching clearly demonstrates their sense of commitment, responsibility and caring towards people who are infected by the pandemic and infected with HIV/Aids.
“According to Namibia’s own HIV projection, the UNAIDS and WHO, our country has an estimated number of 188 000 people living with HIV. Our population is currently being estimated at 2, 0 million of which the age group from 15-49 are sexually active. This is about 1 033 192 people of whom 29 percent are females and 18 percent are males who knew their HIV status,” Uugwanga explained.
He urged all Namibians who have not yet determined their HIV status to do so in order to plan their future, have peace of mind and enable them to have access to proper treatment, care and support services.
The Edusector Health Day is the first of 13 celebrations which will be held in each of Namibia’s regions.
The realization of Edusector Health Day was made possible by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, and funded by USAID through the Academy for Educational Development.