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UNESCO supports Ghana to produce HIV Alert materials in Braille

24 April 2018

UNESCO, in partnership with the Ministry of Education in Ghana, and Ghana Education Service (GES), has produced and distributed HIV and AIDS Alert materials for visually impaired students in Ghana.

HIV and AIDS Alert focuses on integrating lessons around HIV prevention into school lesson plans through peer education sessions, as well as reaching the community through School Management Committee (SMC) and Parent Teacher Association (PTA). It aims to ensure all students have the knowledge and skills they need around HIV testing, prevention and treatment. The current version of the HIV and AIDS Alert was developed by the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service, with support from UNESCO, UNICEF and UNFPA.

The conversion of teaching and learning materials into braille follows an HIV needs assessment study which showed that 72% of teachers for the visually impaired had not implemented HIV and AIDS Alert in their school while 73.2% of the students said teachers had never used the recommended methods of teaching around HIV and AIDS in Special Schools.

Director for Special Education at GES, Amina Achiaa, said visually impaired students are at higher risk of contracting HIV, and experience high levels of violence, stigma and discrimination.

“Education such as comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) has played a significant role in helping young people develop critical life skills to take control of their lives. Physically challenged people however, are often left out due to their special learning needs and the lack of appropriate learning resources and materials,” Ms Achiaa said.

“This affects their ability to adopt healthy behaviours and to avoid or respond effectively to situations about their health and well-being. The implication in terms of quality education is detrimental. It is associated with low enrolment, high absenteeism and low academic achievement.”   

According to 2016 UNAIDS estimates, there are 290,000 people in Ghana living with HIV, including 32,000 children aged up to 14.

Following the conversion of the teaching and learning materials into braille, and pre-testing among visually impaired students and their teachers; materials on HIV and AIDS, CSE and SRGBV were distributed to schools and units for the visually impaired in Ghana.