The Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, has commenced the training of public Junior Secondary School teachers on Family Life and HIV/AIDS Education (FLHE).
The five-day training started on Monday, February 8, 2021, at Ikeja Central School, GRA, Ikeja, with 40 Basic Science and Social Studies teachers strategically selected from 40 different public schools as Master Trainers to influence the pupils on positive attitude and reactions towards sexual activities.
Flagging off the exercise, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), LSACA, Dr. Monsurat Adeleke explained that the programme was deliberately organised to encourage teachers to enlighten the pupils on best practices to prevent HIV/AIDS and positively educate them on sexual and respiratory organ-related issues.
She further described teachers as important change agents in influencing positive attitudinal change in the Adolescent Youth Population (AYP), which according to statistics are about 40 percent of the entire population of the State.
Dr. Adeleke said: “Teachers are important key players in reinforcing attitudinal changes in pupils. That is why we have devised this method to train and retrain them on best practices of enlightening the pupils on the dire consequences of improper and negative exposure to sexual activities. Such consequences, I must stress, are not limited to early unwanted pregnancies, issues of unsafe abortion and being prone to Sexually Transmitted Infection, especially HIV/AIDS”.
According to her, the long-term vision is to achieve the 95-95-95 initiative of the United Nations on AIDS. This, she said, would ensure that by 2030, 95 percent of the State’s entire population would have known their HIV status, while 95 percent would have started their antiretroviral therapy and another 95 percent would have attained viral suppression.
In a bid to achieve this, the CEO disclosed that Lagos has inculcated the FLHE course in the curriculum of 354 Junior Public Secondary Schools, while stressing that contingency plans are strategically drafted to include private schools in the initiative since Lagos is for all.
“Apart from reaching the AYP through educational facilitators, the State has Youth Adolescents Centers, where reproductive services are rendered for free, and LSCACA always engage in outreach programs”, Dr. Adeleke disclosed.
Speaking further, the LSACA CEO said “Currently, we are planning on an outreach against this year’s Valentine because this is another season when young girls are lured into inappropriate sexual exposure and activities”.
Urging parents to complement efforts of the government by enlightening their children and wardens on the best practices in respiratory and sexual activities, Adeleke emphasised the need to establish and sustain a cordial relationship with their wards.
She further implored the Master Trainers to spread the message in order to achieve a cleaner and healthier Lagos, free of HIV and other dreadful consequences related to improper exposure to sexual activities.
While stating that the society sees sex education as a taboo, Adeleke maintained that the motive of the initiative is to change the narrative so that beneficiaries of the training could serve as change agents and bridge the gap between innocent children and society.
In her remarks, the Deputy Director, Education District I, Mrs. Timilehin Adenaike, revealed that the exercise is intended to train teachers as Master Trainers and in turn, equip pupils with the skills and knowledge required to cope with the day-to-day challenges that come with improper sexual education and activities, especially in their pubertal stage.