Schoolgirl HIV infections alarmingly high

11 March 2019 | Health

Studies have found that Namibian schoolgirls have double the rate of HIV infection compared to their male peers.

For this reason, several non-governmental organisations, in partnership with the government, have established the DREAMS project which seeks to prevent new HIV infections among young women.

At an event hosted at the Ekulo Senior Secondary School near Omuthiya recently, the DREAMS project introduced an after-school platform where schoolgirls can discuss matters that they are too shy to talk about in class.

The programme caters to girls from 16 schools in the Oshikoto Region.

“The Namibia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (NAMPHIA) 2017 survey that went to all the regions of Namibia found that adolescent girls and young women have a high infection rate of HIV, twice as high as boys and young men,” said Frieda Katuta of Project Hope Namibia.

She said the organisation also offered programmes for these girls' parents and sexual partners.

The Project Hope country director, Rosalia Indongo, said they organised holiday camps for schoolgirls as part of the DREAMS project in December, which were attended by 2 700 girls in Oshikoto.

“We want to convey the correct information on HIV, sexual and reproductive health, and gender-based violence. We expect our adolescent girls and young women to use this information to make informed decisions, such as delaying their sexual debut, which from our assessment is as young as 12 years old,” Indongo said.

“Surely parents and teachers would agree with me that this is a time for our girls to play with dolls, learn household chores and not to have sex.

“We need to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in our schools, especially in the ages 14 to 18 years old. Many of the 16 schools we are working in were chosen because of their high teenage pregnancies.”

Indongo said the DREAMS project recently established the Safe Spaces afternoon programme, which is mainly aimed at tackling children's personal problems.

“Should a girl find herself unable to avoid sex, we can support her to access sexual reproductive health counselling services and, if possible, family planning.

“It is sad to have a 14-, 15-, 16-, 17- or 18-year-old as a mother. Let us help our girls though the DREAMS programme to reduce this very concerning trend in our country.

“We also want our girls to stay HIV free. The Namibian statistics show that although the epidemic is generally slowing down, new infections in the younger age groups of girls aged 15 to 19 and 20 to 24 show an upward trend.

“The DREAMS programme is here to support the reversal of this trend,” she added.

The DREAMS programme has been implemented in the Khomas, Oshikoto and Zambezi regions.

The project is led by Project Hope Namibia and supported by IntraHealth, LifeLine/ChildLine, Star for Life, the Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA), Project Hope US and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust).

It is funded by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Indongo said they expected to reach 27 000 schoolgirls this year alone. Indongo thanked the ministry of education, regional councils, traditional leaders and parents for making it possible for Project Hope Namibia and its partners to ensure the smooth implementation of activities both in school and at community level.



ILENI NANDJATO

Similar News

 

Shangula takes stock of Kavango West health woes

3 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Health

The Kavango West Region is battling with a lack of health facilities and abandoned projects that have become white elephants while thousands of inhabitants are...

Iipotha yomukithi gwoHepatitis E tayi londo pombanda

3 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Health

Omukithi gwoHepatitis E oshowo omaso taga etithwa komukithi ngoka oga londo pombanda muule woomvula dha piti, sho ngashiingeyi kwa lopotwa iipotha yipo 6 280 okuya...

Rise of hepatitis E unstoppable

4 days ago - 12 September 2019 | Health

Hepatitis E infections and deaths have more than doubled over the past year, with a total of 6 280 hepatitis E cases reported by 25...

The birds and the bees

6 days ago - 10 September 2019 | Health

Ester Kamati Abstinence is cool and is often the first tip someone would give, when the topic of sexual intercourse arises. This, however, is...

Hepatitis E battle intensifies

1 week ago - 09 September 2019 | Health

STAFF REPORTERDevelopment partners came together in a big way this past weekend to support the elimination of hepatitis E in Namibia. United Nations (UN) Namibia,...

Quashing cervical cancer through prevention

1 week ago - 06 September 2019 | Health

In an effort to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer the Cancer Association (CAN) and partners this week launched their national human papilloma virus (HPV)...

NamBTS takes care of its employees

2 weeks ago - 30 August 2019 | Health

The Namibian Blood Transfusion Service (NamBTS) in Windhoek held a wellness day for its employees on Wednesday. Namibia Health Plan (NHP) visited the offices to...

Call for second opinion on patient's death

2 weeks ago - 29 August 2019 | Health

The People's Litigation Centre has called on the medical board to investigate the death of a patient who was waiting to be assisted at the...

Companies fail on health, safety

3 weeks ago - 22 August 2019 | Health

The majority of companies inspected by the labour ministry in the first quarter of this year were not in compliance with occupational health and safety...

Bolster fight against hepatitis E

3 weeks ago - 22 August 2019 | Health

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has again urged Namibia to boost its response to the protracted hepatitis E outbreak which has claimed the lives of...

Latest News

Ndafoluma geared for WBO title

11 hours ago | Sports

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA Namibian boxer Lukas 'The Demolisher' Ndafoluma says he is ready to tame Russia's Apti 'The Tiger' Ustarkhanov in...

Deadly weekend

11 hours ago | Accidents

The deaths of at least 23 people in five car crashes on Friday and Saturday has highlighted Namibia's unresolved road accident epidemic and cast a...

Kamushinda fights on

11 hours ago | Banking

Enoch Kamushinda, described as the mastermind behind the heist at the SME Bank, is continuing his dogged battle to stop the bank's “closure”.In his latest...

Death on wheels

11 hours ago | Opinion

What does one say after such a shocking weekend on our country’s roads that has not been said before?Many have spoken and written about attitudes...

Cold comfort

11 hours ago | Sports

Tokyo 2020 organisers blasted volunteers with fake snow on Friday as they trial ever more extreme ways to beat the heat ahead of the Games.'But...

Good luck, Namibia

11 hours ago | Sports

JESSE JACKSON KAURAISA We have only four days to go before the Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan. I wish...

McCarthy slams Cape Town City...

11 hours ago | Sports

Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy pulled no punches when discussing his team's performance after the 3-3 draw with SuperSport United at the Mbombela Stadium...

Swiss coach celebrates birthday with...

11 hours ago | Sports

Swiss coach Rene Weiler celebrated his 46th birthday on Saturday by debuting as Al Ahly of Egypt coach with a 2-0 win at Cano Sport...

Unam proud of World Cup-bound...

11 hours ago | Sports

The University of Namibia (Unam) Rugby Club has expressed pride that seven of its players were included in the 31-man senior national rugby team that...

Load More