From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State Government is to invest more in family life and HIV/AIDS education programmes to expand the scope of the programme for enhanced impact.
The Director, Public Health in the State Ministry of Health and Human Services, Dr Terna Kur, announced this at the end of a five-day training on Family Life and HIV Aids Education, FLHE, for Peer Educators and Teachers in ten selected secondary schools in Makurdi, the state capital recently.
The training was organised by the Ministry of Health with support from United Nations Population Fund UNFPA in Makurdi.
He stated that the ministry has considered increasing budgetary allocation to the programme for more schools to be engaged as well as holding the programme on regular basis and charged the participating schools to form Health Clubs to step down the information for wider awareness.
‘The aim of the programme is to look at issues that affect young people. We noticed in our Demographic Survey (National Aids Indicator Impact Survey, NAIIS, of 2018) demonstrated that youth have the highest percentage of HIV infection.’
‘We noticed that there are other associated reproductive health issues with the youth, so if we do not address the issue on time there will be an explosion of HIV and other health problems.’
Kur acknowledged that there is rapid flow of information among their peers once they have it either on social media, interpersonal basis or any other fora they pass it to themselves.
‘If they are not given information in the right way, they will go and get t in the wrong way,’ Kit said.
In a remark, the Programme Officer of UNFPA, Mrs Martha Ape, explained that the programme was to equip the students with accurate knowledge on family and health issues in line with the mandate of UNFPA, which is delivering a world where pregnancy is safe, every child is wanted and potential of every youth is fulfilled.
Mrs Ape added that the students are expected to form youth clubs where they will pass what they have learnt to their mates and peers.
She urged government to be at the driver’s seat with teachers and principals driving the programme in their various schools.
The UNFPA Programme officer maintained that ‘UNFPA fund is development fund so we don’t expect the funds to be with us forever.’
On his part, Desk Officer, Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health in the State Ministry of Health Mr Aondowase Apinega pointed out that the programme was designed for the students would anchor issues of the health family and healthy living while teachers would guild them in forming Health Clubs and educating others.
‘Before now UNFPA had 11 youth-friendly centres, one in six secondary Schools, three in tertiary institutions and two health facilities.’
He said there are health services in their facilities that youths could access.
Also speaking, the Desk Officer Family Life and HIV Education, Ministry of Education, Mr John Garba, stated that the FLHE was a catch them young programme for youths to bring the knowledge on issues affecting them closer and getting the young people to be ambassadors to champion the campaign.
Garba said the prevalence of HIV among adolescents in the state is not as high as it used to be because of the programme.
Two teachers participating in the training, Miss. Elizabeth Ameh of Methodist High School and Titus Sendegh of Goodnews Secondary Grammar School said they have learnt new things even in their areas of study and promised to ensure that the knowledge gained was disseminated to others.
Some of the participating students including Sughnenter Tenwase from Athans Model College and Ummu-aiman Siddiq from Arabic College commended UNFPA for the highly enriching programme and appealed for its expansion to cover the entire state for others to gain the knowledge to be saved from dangers.
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