To eradicate HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, students of secondary schools must be taught about the need to abstain from pre-marital sex through sex education or Family Life and HIV/AIDS Education, FLHE.
The Society for Family Health, SFH, said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the presentation of a report on the impact of combating HIV/AIDS in the education sector in Nigeria.
The report of the Impact Evaluation of Family Life HIV/AIDS Education was presented by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with SFH.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who was represented at the event by the Director of Education Support Services, Justina Ibe, said the initiative was borne out of the need to equip in-school youth to abstain from pre-marital sex.
He said that the dissemination of the draft report was a scientific declaration that used the curricular and co-curricular strategies to communicate sexuality information to adolescents by the educational sector.
According to him, the exercise was delayed after the exit of the Global Fund Round 9 Phase 2 interventions on HIV/AIDS in schools.
“The exercise is a holistic effort to move the country forward and create a better HIV-free society for young people,” the minister said.
“I implore that as partners, we should all contribute our quota for the success of the exercise.’’
The Managing Director of SFH, Bright Ekweremadu, said the implementation of FLHE in upper and lower secondary schools was paramount to the eradication of the scourge in Nigeria.
Mr. Ekweremadu lamented that the impact of FLHE on young persons was beclouded by the lack of empirical evidence of the efficiency and effectiveness of the approach at reaching young persons within schools.
He said students and young adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 years account for 54 million of the Nigerian population, hence the need to educate them on the dangers of the epidemic.
“The Global Fund Round 9 Phase 2 HIV grant in Nigeria (January 2013 and June 2015) conducted a quasi-experimental study to evaluate the impact of the FLHE programme among in-school students in Nigeria. The overall objective of the impact evaluation study was to identify proven intervention approaches to promoting sexual and reproductive health of in-school youths for better programming among them,” he said.
Mr. Ekweremadu said the evaluation compared the knowledge in selected indicators of persons who had been exposed to the intervention with those of equivalent persons who had not been exposed.
He said that lack of funding of the initiative brought about the development of a road map to further embellish and sustain the programme into the school system.
“Unfortunately, this is yet to be implemented by the country, leaving a huge gap which is capable of eroding the gains made over the years. If Nigeria would curb the spread of new HIV infections, reduce teenage pregnancies to change the trajectory of the AIDS epidemic, we cannot ignore the continuation of the implementation of the programme,” he said.
“FLHE programme is a veritable strategy in the fight against HIV and other reproductive challenges facing young adolescents in the country,” he concluded.