On Saturday, April 24, 2021, Sokoine University of Agriculture through the Department of Hospital Services organized a one-day peer education training for student representatives from all study programs in order to increase the awareness, understanding, and how they can protect themselves and avoid the spread of HIV / AIDS and other non-communicable diseases
During the training, the students were taught various topics on how to protect themselves from various diseases and infections by specialist doctors of all diseases and also listened to testimonies from people living with HIV in Morogoro region.
Speaking at the opening of the training, the guest of honor, who is the Resident Medical Officer & Head of Hospital Department at Sokoine University of Agriculture Dr. Omar Kasuwi urged the students to make sure they use the training well to educate their fellow students so that they can protect themselves from the disease for the benefits of themselves and the development of the Nation.
Dr. Omar Kasuwi
"This education you are receiving today is peer education, the main goal is to help you to be ambassadors on issues of HIV/AIDS and other Chronic Diseases in all areas that you come from, be it in your courses/programmes, your dormitories, and even the campuses you come from, make sure you pass this knowledge on to your colleagues so that together we can contribute to raising awareness about these diseases ” stressed Dr. Kasuwi
Dr. Kasuwi said that many students' dreams are erased and lost quickly due to the impact of HIV / AIDS and other non-communicable diseases despite the huge investments made by families and the government in providing young people with quality education and skills.
He added that according to a study conducted in 2017, it has shown that a large proportion of new HIV infections occur in young people between the ages of 15 - 23 group most of whom are in higher education institutions and the study also found that University students are at greater risk of contracting the infection.
Dr. Kasuwi went on to say that in 2013 the government conducted an assessment to determine whether the existing AIDS control strategies had achieved the intended goals especially for public servants and the results of the study found that AIDS and other diseases contributed significantly to the deaths of many workers and this affected performance in the public service.
Dr. Kasuwi said the study led the government to issue circular number 2 of 2014 which required all employers to strategize and manage HIV and Non infections disease in the workplace to reduce its impact.
Dr. Kasuwi noted that since the start of the fight against the disease, Sokoine University of Agriculture has continued to be a leader in the planning and implementation of government directives among all universities in the country and has promised to continue those efforts to ensure all students and staff are safe at all times and be able to fulfill their dreams and fulfill the goals of each employee which is to bring development
Earlier speaking about the training for peer educators at the university, the Coordinator of AIDS and Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) Dr. Erhard Kapilima said the main reasons for the training were to continue implementing Government directives on the management of the disease because in the last few years the pace of the disease has increased dramatically due to a decrease in the emphasis on education and management thus training peer educators will help increase awareness in the student community.
Dr. Erhard Kapilima
He added that the training has started for the student community at the University but another similar training will also be done for Sokoine University of Agriculture staff who will be selected from all departments.
Dr. Kapilima added that the training for students is being provided each year to First- and Second-year students to help close the gap for third year graduates and make the university continue to have peer educators from every year of the study and support the fight against these diseases.
For his part, the Vice Chairman of SUA Heath Club, Mr. Musa Katyeka said that the training has been very important for them as students as it has helped to provide many volunteers to educate their fellow students at the University on these diseases and thus contribute to reducing infection among them.
Kyateka added that they as students each year get some new students at the campus some at a young age so it is important to have such training to help get enough numbers to serve a large number of their classmates on the basics of how to protect themselves from infection in order to be able to achieve their dreams and contribute to the development of the Nation.
Specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology who is also the Medical Officer In-charge of SUA Hospital in Mazimbu, Dr. Elimwidimi Swai giving a presentation on Background and Situation of AIDS and STI.
Participants in the training following various topics that were presented
Specialist Pediatrician Dr. Graca Chotamawe presented on the factors contributing to HIV infection and the statistics of the disease
Story and Photo Credits
Calvin Edward Gwabara, SUAMEDIA