Ministry of Education, Guyana

Monday, 03 October 2011 20:45

Education Ministry comes on board National Testing Week

The Education Ministry has come on board National Testing Week and is hoping to test some 1000 employees and members of the public during this period.

On Monday, a one day testing exercise commenced at a site set up in the ministry’s 26 Brickdam compound. On Tuesday, another one day exercise will be held at the Carnegie School of Home Economics.

Also on Tuesday, testing will begin at the Government Technical Institute (GTI) and conclude on Friday. These activities are being conducted in collaboration with the National Aids Programme Secretariat (NAPS).Chief Education Officer Olato Sam taking the test

Participants at Monday’s exercise also had their blood pressure and glucose level tested for free. These services will also be available at the Carnegie School of Home Economics and GTI.

According to HIV/AIDS coordinator within the Education Ministry, Janelle Sweatnam the objective of these exercises is to create behavioural change among participants by building awareness of the virus and its consequences.

“We want to increase the knowledge of people of ways they can enjoy a healthy lifestyle and how they can avoid contracting the virus,” Sweatnam.

She is appealing to persons to get tested so that they can know their status, and the necessary care they might need.

Apart from this exercise, the HIV/AIDS Prevention and School Health Unit within the Education Ministry has conducted several awareness sessions with second and third year pre-service and in-service trainee teachers at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE). These interactions were geared to enlighten the teachers on ways to respond to students infected and affected by the virus.

The findings of a recent study on HIV-related stigma and discrimination and learning outcomes of children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in Guyana found that although there is an indication of stigma and discrimination against these children, it did not determine how well they will perform in school.

The study was carried out by the Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC), the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus and the UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office, in collaboration with the Education Ministry and the UWI- HIV & AIDS Response Programme.

Meanwhile, Sweatnam pointed out that the National Testing Week exercises are a prelude to the ministry’s activities to mark World AIDS Day which is observed on December 1, 2011.

World AIDS Day 2011 is held under the theme, “Getting to Zero - Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths”.  The occasion is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.

According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.4 million people living with HIV, including 2.1 million children. During 2008, some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated two million people died from AIDS. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.


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