Independent Online Examines UNICEF’s HIV Prevention Education Efforts for Myanmarese Children Unable To Remain in School
South Africa's Independent Online on Thursday examined UNICEF's pilot project which aims to strengthen HIV prevention education for children in Myanmar who are unable to remain in school. HIV prevention education is taught in about one-third of primary and secondary schools in Myanmar and coverage is increasing, according to Jason Rush, a UNICEF spokesperson in the country. However, because of poverty, more than half of the children in the country leave primary school, putting them at greater risk of contracting HIV because they are "left out of any formal education on how to avoid the virus," according to the Independent Online. "We don't want this huge group of kids to be left out of [HIV/]AIDS prevention efforts, but it's hard to find a way to bring them all together and engage them," Rush said. The German government recently has contributed $870,000 to UNICEF, which will be used to help three community-based NGOs establish networks of young peer educators, the Independent Online reports. Educators will identify groups of teenagers not in school and train them on HIV/AIDS awareness and other life skills, such as literacy and reading. The peer counselors will serve as long-term role models and mentors, providing emotional and moral support, according to the Independent Online. The program currently is running in 58 communities and 10 townships with high HIV prevalence, and, with the funding from the German government, will be expanded to 81 communities and 20 townships in 2007, the Independent Online reports (Independent Online, 5/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.