Africa-Press – Gambia. By Yunus S Saliu
Director of Early Child and Inclusive Education Directorate has applauded the Comprehensive Health Education program has the coordinating team visited three special schools to sensitized their students and teachers on reproductive health issues.
The visited special schools included St John’s School for the Deaf, GOVI (Gambia Organisation of the Visually Impaired) Resource Centre and Methodist Special School all in Kanifing Municipality. These special schools, one consists of students with hearing impairment, the second one with visual impairment, and the third one with intellectual and developmental disorders.
Hannah Nancy Mendy, Director of Early Child and Inclusive Education Directorate said it is important to sensitise the students of these schools they are students of special need and they need to have access to information.
CHE visit to these schools “is an opportunity for them to get access to information about their health issues as regarding to their bodies and reproductive health issues. This will really help them to get the information that will help them,” she emphasized.
She added that her directorate felt the importance of CHE program under the project Strengthening Access to Quality Comprehensive Health Education for in-and-out of School Adolescent Children “and children of these schools being in Region 1 with special needs they need to access the information as well.”
Now that the schools have been sensitized on different topics of reproductive health issues which include hygienic method, children menstrual circle, gender based violence, sexual harassment, menstruation, rape, how to keep themselves clean during their menstrual period, using of reusable sanitary pads among others “they now have the information and really interested,” she said.
Ms Mendy urged the Comprehensive Health Education team led by Phebian Ina Grant-Sagnia, principal investigator of the project for Strengthening Access to Quality Comprehensive Health Education for in-and-out of School Adolescents in The Gambia who is also Principal Health Researcher Ministry Health to train teachers of the special schools “so that they will be able to continue delivering the messages by giving necessary information that will help these students as regarding CHE.”
However, the Director of Early Child and Inclusive Education Directorate affirmed that reproductive health has been incorporated in the other subjects but teachers really need to prepare to be able to support them. Saying “teachers have mode of communication with this different schools which included sign language for those at the hearing impairment school for understanding.”
She added that the sensitisation should not stop with their teachers alone but their parents too also need the information so that they can consolidate what they have been taught in the schools.
Comprehensive health education (CHE) under the project – Strengthening Access to Quality Comprehensive Health Education in The Gambia is an implementation research project done by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) with funding from International Development Research Center (IDRC). And it is meant to enlighten and educate in and out-of-school students on adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH).