HIV Education Campaign Rolled Out in Luweero Schools

2809 Views Luweero, Uganda

In short
The campaign, intended to control the spread of HIV among adolescents, is based on reports of increased sexual activity among school-going children due to exposure to media, poverty and domestic violence among other factors.

Luweero District Health Department has embarked on a campaign to create awareness about HIV among learners.

The campaign, intended to control the spread of HIV among adolescents, is based on reports of increased sexual activity among school-going children due to exposure to media, poverty and domestic violence among other factors.

According to the Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey (2011), about 42 percent (boys) and 46 percent (girls) are sexually active. However, only 50 percent of those sexually active are using condoms consistently. Edward Kalyesubula, the Luweero District HIV Focal Person says that the early sexual debut puts learners at the risk of contracting HIV at a tender age.

Kalyesubula says that they will now be visiting schools to remind learners that they are at a risk of contracting HIV if they don't abstain from sex or practice safer sex. He says schools will also be encouraged to open HIV focal points which can offer services to students living with AIDS and fight stigma.

The five-year programme targets 144 institutions which include among them, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. The district is working with non-government organizations with which they intend to spend 85 million Shillings on the campaigns.

So far, the district with support from Protecting Families against HIV (PREFA) has conducted sensitization campaigns in St Daniel Comboni S.S, New Life S.S and Ssekamuli S.S among others.

Paul Mukungu the Director of New Life S.S in Luweero town has welcomed the campaign saying some teachers were shy to talk about HIV and safer sex, a fear which had created an information gap about the disease.
 
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Emmanuel Mugeere, a teacher at Luweero Islamic Primary School says that some schools have created talking compounds with messages that warn learners against early sex and HIV infection but it seems they are no longer effective.
 
Mugeere says the campaign may create more impact but asked parents to remain vigilant on their children.
 
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Livingstone Kategeya, a resident in Kamira Sub County welcomed the campaign saying it could also curb early marriages that are common in their villages. Kategeya adds that some pupils, especially in rural areas, are not aware of the repercussions of early sex practices.
Many learners were uncomfortable to discuss the sexual activity among them but welcomed the awareness campaigns. According to the 2016 Uganda Population HIV Impact Assessment (UPHIA), the current prevalence of HIV among adults aged 15 - 49 years in Uganda is 6 percent and 0.5 percent among those aged 5 - 14 years. The assessment further revealed that Luweero which falls under Central II region has a prevalence rate of 7.4 percent.
 

 

About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.