Education sector has paid high price of Aids toll, says report
Posted Tuesday, June 26 2012 at 20:22
More than 20,000 teachers have died of HIV/Aids in the past 16 years, a new report says, adding that the disease has taken a high toll on the education sector.
The report, by the Education ministry, also says that more than 70,000 teachers resigned or retired on medical grounds after contracting the disease. The report, HIV/Aids Impact on Education Sector in Kenya, was released last month and calls for concerted efforts to reduce the spread of the pandemic.
The rate of infection among teachers is 15 per cent.
The report calls for support of Aids orphans to ensure that they do not drop out of school.
However, it shows that the death rate has been declining due to rising awareness, adding that 2.4 million school children are orphaned by the disease.
The study was carried out in 32 primary and 15 secondary schools, six teachers training colleges, 18 districts, and five provinces. The information was compiled using data from district education offices with the support of Unesco.
The report notes that the pandemic has led to absenteeism, reduced morale due to stigma, high stress among healthy teachers who are forced to take up extra duties, and ultimately affected service delivery.
The report calls for interactive teaching techniques to benefit affected children. It also identifies gaps that need to be addressed such as wrong use of condoms and lack of clear workplace policies on HIV/Aids.
On the positive side, it notes that stigma and discrimination have declined although some teachers do not disclose their condition.
The health of affected children has also improved following introduction of the school feeding programme for vulnerable groups, says the report.
The HIV infection rate in Kenya has fallen from 13.4 per cent to seven per cent in recent years following increased awareness on preventive measures. According to the Kenya National Aids Strategic Plan for 2008-2013, out of the 1.49 million people who are HIV positive, 1.38 million are aged above 15 years.
Only a third of the 110,000 children living with the disease receive treatment.
The report says that HIV/aids prevalence is higher among illiterate youths.