ECOWAS Education Ministers plead for AIDS patients

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- ECOWAS Education Ministers have appealed to leaders in the sub-region to make HIV/AIDS treatment more accessible to children, teachers and other education workers.
In a 19-point Declaration adopted at the end of their two-day conference on the menace of HIV/AIDS in the education sector, released on Friday in Accra, the Ministers said the prevalence of the disease has reached crisis proportions in the sub-region.
They called for emergency measures to stem the crisis.
The conference under the theme: "Mobilising the Education Sector in the fight against HIV/AIDS," was organised by UNESCO in collaboration with the Ghanaian government.
It was attended by some 50 participants including Ministers and experts from the sub-region as well as representatives of international organisations.
The meeting was a follow-up to the one organised last year for ECOWAS experts as part of the global strategy against HIV/AIDS in the sub-region.
The participants, among others, reviewed projects of regional dimensions to drastically reduce the spread of the disease in the sub-region.
The Ministers said they recognised the critical role played by poverty, illiteracy and conflicts in the spread of the pandemic and urged ECOWAS countries to put in place by June 2003, effective programmes to reduce vulnerability among women, children, youth and teachers.
"Our countries must reiterate their commitment to reducing HIV/AIDS prevalence in West Africa by 25 percent in most affected countries and communities by 2005 and adopt policies to reach this target in the education sector in good time," they added.
They said, in seeking the attainment of education for all goals in the sub-region, countries must undertake to develop examinable curricula in schools and teacher training institutions to emphasise quality education for employable skills, learning to live together, and HIV/AIDS education.
"In designing teaching programmes, our countries must ensure the full participation of the youth in our responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic," the Ministers recommended.
The Declaration added that relevant communication media should be used to ensure the full participation of all stakeholders, including politicians, the civil societies, Chiefs, religious and youth leaders, women associations, health and agricultural extension workers.

25 october 2002 18:38:00

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