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New curriculum to protect young people from HIV and AIDS in Northern Sudan

KHARTOUM, 13 January 2009 – A new curriculum for schools, focusing on the risks from HIV and AIDS, will be launched in the northern states of Sudan tomorrow as part of efforts to improve knowledge and understanding of the virus amongst young people.

The curriculum, developed by the Ministry of General Education with support from the Sudan National AIDS Control Programme (SNAP) and UNICEF, has been under development for over two years and aims to reduce the risks from HIV and AIDS amongst adolescents.

2.5 million children aged between 10 and 18 years will benefit from the curriculum content which will be introduced in schools throughout primary and secondary schools in the fifteen states in the north of Sudan. Using participatory methods including classroom discussions, role play, games and demonstrations backed up by culturally sensitive education materials, specially trained teachers will help students to learn about the traditional values of abstinence and faithfulness as well as providing basic facts on HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, support for people living with HIV/AIDS and substance and drug abuse. The curriculum also focuses on non-discrimination towards people living with HIV and AIDS.

More than 2, 500 teachers have already been trained in the use of the new curriculum, with 20,000 teachers expected to receive training in the coming years. The curriculum design has been funded by the Global Fund For AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNDP and UNICEF.

While official statistics show HIV prevalence in Sudan as being 1.6 per cent of the adult population, increased population movement following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and a low level of understanding about HIV transmission have combined to make HIV and AIDS a significant threat to health and development.

The 2006 Sudan Household Health Survey found that only 9 per cent of women aged between 15 and 49 years old could identify the main causes of HIV transmission, while other studies amongst young people have shown that less than a quarter of 12 to 25 year olds knew that HIV could be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse.

The new curriculum will be officially launched by Presidential Advisor Dr. Ahmed Bilal Osman on Wednesday 14 January at 11 a.m. in the International Conference Hall of Friendship Hall in Khartoum, in the presence of the Federal Ministers of Education, Health and Culture, Youth and Sport alongside representatives of the United Nations and the international assistance community.

Media are warmly welcomed to attend. A press conference will also be held immediately after the launch event.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:

Edward Cawardine, UNICEF Sudan, + 249 (0) 912 177 291, ecarwardine@unicef.org




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