The school season began last week and most parents found it a daunting task especially with children in pre-school and lower grade level.
Part of being a parent is to ensure that your children’s needs are addressed to help them go through school.
I am of the opinion that the health of our children will form part of our planning.
I am specifically going to concentrate on HIV. There is a decline in the HIV-prevalence in our country especially among young people.
The decline is small but something to be proud of. We are on the right track. We are working towards an HIV-free future for Our Children, Our Generation.
Parents have a role in reducing HIV transmission and supporting their children in many ways. Your children are exposed to lots of ideas and conflicting information out there. Especially after holidays and now they will be united with their friends. Believe me you; a lot happened during the school break.
I am sure, we love our children unconditionally. We want to see success, progress, wealth, and health. I mean all well.
We should build a productive nation we can be proud of. The parent’s role should be sitting with their children, exchanging ideas, educating them and most importantly being good listeners and mentors.
I drew one important lesson from the Swapo Youth league Congress last year. It was the resolution from Secretary General Elijah Ngurare’s proposal for making condoms available in School.
Comrade that was impressive. It is the way to go. Condoms play a key role in preventing HIV infection. There are still a number of social, cultural and practical factors that may prevent school-going young people using them.
We should start to think of a comprehensive integrated support programme for school-going young people. I will mention the few for consideration: enhancing the uptake of anti-retroviral treatment in the school environment and how we can make that environment enabling.
Taking treatment comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. One of such advantages is encouraging young people in the school set up to go for HIV voluntary testing.
It is widely recognised that individuals living with HIV and who are aware of their status are less likely to transmit HIV infection to others and more likely to access treatment, care and support that help them to stay healthy for longer.
Accidents happen in schools and there may be blood contact, and this makes HIV- pre exposure prophylaxis availability a must.
Pregnancies in schools should not be tolerated. Any pregnant school girl under the age of 16 must be investigated and those responsible charged with rape.
Pregnancies are a concern and more practical programmes must be introduced to make contraceptives available.
I am sure we our Government will support this initiative from the young people.
We all have a role in reducing HIV transmission and supporting people living with HIV.