Lagos – The Global Association for War Against AIDS (GAWAA) has advised parents to educate their children and wards on HIV/AIDS to help to reduce the burden of the disease in Nigeria.
The Education Officer of GAWAA, Mrs Tinuke Lawal, gave the advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Lawal spoke with NAN on the sidelines of a sensitisation programme for parents on Monday, against the backdrop of the National Education Sector HIV/AIDS Action Framework recommendation.
She said that the programme was organised in collaboration with the federal and state government agencies: “Insetting Lagos State Primary Schools’’.
According to her, it is aimed at teaching parents diverse ways of preventing children from contracting HIV/AIDS.
Lawal said, “Programmes like this should come up in all schools in Nigeria so as to bring this dreadful disease to minimal.
“Parents should educate their children in primary schools as this will help them to gain knowledge on how to avoid practices that may put them at risk of HIV/AIDS.
“The children need to know about the disease now that they are little.
“We are educating them in their schools and also inviting their parents to be part of it because most parents do not deem it fit to discuss such with their children,’’ she said.
Contributing, Mrs Junaid Kudirat, a parent, commended the organisers of the programme, saying that it would not only educate the children but also the parents.
“This is the first HIV/AIDS enlightenment programme that I have ever attended and I have learnt a lot from it; I will put what I have learnt into practice.
“I think more of this initiative should come up, not only in schools but even at the market places.
“For instance, when a meat seller cuts himself, he should know that he is to sterilize the knife and make sure the blood does not touch the meat he is selling.
“This is because without knowledge he could pass the virus around,’’ she said.
A pupil, 12-year-old Miss Monsurat Akinwande, said that prior to the programme, she did not know anything about HIV/AIDS.
“I did not know anything about HIV/AIDS and from what I have heard today, it sounds scary.
“The topic sounded new to me but I have been educated and I know the basic things to do to avoid getting the disease.
“I have learnt that I should not share sharp objects such as needles, razor blades and syringes,’’ she told NAN.
“I should avoid unprotected sex and in fact, abstain from it until I am married and can keep to one faithful partner.
“I also learnt that HIV can be got through transfusion of contaminated blood.
“I hope my parents and more parents can attend such sensitisation programmes on HIV/AIDS when the next one is organised,’’ Akinwade said.
NAN reports that the National Council on Education (NCE) in 2003 approved the Family Life and HIV Education (FLHE) curriculum with the intent to expose students to skills needed to prevent HIV/AIDS. (NAN)