Teachers shun HIV/AIDS lessons

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By Mvelo Mthiyane Zondo

THE National Aids Council (NAC) has expressed concern over the laxity by teachers in teaching HIV and AIDS lessons, a senior official revealed.
In December 2020, UNAIDS released a new set of ambitious targets calling for 95 percent of all people with HIV to know their status, 95 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection to receive sustained anti-retroviral therapy and 95 percent on ART to have viral suppression by 2025.
As part of efforts to achieve the UNAIDS goal, HIV and AIDS lessons in Zimbabwe were introduced into the school’s curriculum (both primary and secondary) in a bid to achieve the 2025 goal of eradicating HIV and AIDS as the country seeks to attain the 95, 95 and 95.
Addressing a media training workshop in Chinhoyi recently, the Monitoring and Evaluation Director at NAC Architecture, Amon Mpofu, said the country had so far managed to achieve the first two 95 percentage targets while that other 95 percent on viral load suppression was at 93 percent.
“I am happy to announce that as a country, we are in the right direction towards meeting the 2025 target of attaining the three 95s.
“However, some schools are letting the nation down by shunning HIV and AIDS lessons.
“A survey by NAC revealed that some teachers are not taking these lessons seriously.
Instead of teaching learners about how to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted diseases they convert these lessons to free periods,” explained Mpofu.
He also blamed parents.
“In as much as we can blame teachers, parents have a similar role to play.
“Gone are days when it was taboo for a parent to talk about sex with his/her child. The aunties and uncles of yesterday are no longer there, so a parent plays that role.
“We hardly spend time with our children but expect them to behave in a respectful manner.
“The modern family set up is not healthy all. WhatsApp and modern technologies have killed the family union totally,” said Mpofu while urging parents to teach and openly talk to their children about sexuality.
Contacted for comment about the laxity of teachers in teaching HIV lessons, the Director of Communications and Advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Taungana Ndoro, said:.
“The new educational curriculum has such lessons and are conducted once a week at each school. However, I have not received a report about the laxity of teachers in teaching those lessons.
“Also note that we have close to 140 000 schools and we shall do our best to monitor them,” said Ndoro.
Gwanda District Schools Inspector, Sydney Sibanda, said:
“We don’t have HIV and AIDS as stand-alone but are included in lessons through various subjects.
“As for teachers not teaching it, I am not aware of such.”
Of late schoolchildren especially girls, are engaging in sexual activities at an early stage.
Just last month, a nine-year-old girl was admitted at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) while 33 weeks pregnant and is expected to give birth at the institution.
This comes a few weeks after a 13-year-old girl from Mkhosana Township in Victoria Falls wrote part of her Zimsec Grade Seven examinations on a hospital bed soon after giving birth at Victoria Falls Hospital. In the Victoria Falls case, the girl was not aware that she was pregnant until a month before giving birth.

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