Teachers from all corners of the Kunene Region gathered in Khorixas last week Friday to celebrate the Edu-Sector Health Day. More than 3 000 teachers and employees of the education sector in the Kunene Region gathered at Khorixas last week Friday to celebrate the Edu-Sector Health Day. The Edu-Sector Health Day is an initiative by the Ministry of Education and its partners aimed at creating an urgent sense of awareness amongst education sector employees. The day also aims to expose and provide employees and their families with HIV and AIDS prevention methods and to provide them with an opportunity to know their status by providing free voluntary counseling and testing. Speaking at the occasion, Minister of Education Nangolo Mbumba said the education sector, which is the single largest employer with over 40 000 employees, has an immense responsibility to ensure that the preservation of its human capital national and international development targets set by the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are reached.
He said that given the current national prevalence rate of 17.2 %, it is important for the education sector to invest in HIV prevention, care, support and impact mitigation programmes to address the socio-economic impacts currently being felt through reduced service delivery escalated by increased rate of absenteeism and funeral attendance and other forms of compassionate leave. The USAID country director, Greg Gottlieb, in a speech read on his behalf by Dalene van der Westhuizen of USAID, said USAID, PEPFAR and the Academy for Educational Development (AED) are proud to support initiatives which aim to prevent new infections and provide relief for current illnesses. He added that since the Ministry of Education employs the largest percentage of the public sector employees, they have the potential to reach many people in all regions.