Teachers warned of infected students
FN News Reporter
With The Bahamas ranked second in the world with HIV infections per capita and first in the region, Dr. Kelafo Collie said it is increasingly important teachers know how to handle students that may be infected.
Approximately three percent of the population, he said, is infected with the disease and noted that the question then arises whether or not teachers should be informed if they have an infected student.
"In our day and age where the prevalence is as high as we know it, a lot of students now will be children of parents who have been infected or they might be infected themselves," Collie said.
He was the speaker at a training session held for health and family life teachers who teach grades seven through 12.
The two-and-a-half-day workshop was sponsored by the Ministry of Education and the Education Development Center Caribbean Office.
Collie noted that factors to be considered are how would teachers be able to keep the level of confidentiality and level of discrimination down for infected students.
He said the debatable question lingers, should teachers be informed when a student is infected or left oblivious and have them and other students at risk to possible infection as accidents can take place at school.
Collie noted that while it is important that teachers not show discrimination, they must apply universal precautions at all times.
"This is not the day when a child is bleeding and you put your hand on them. This is not the day to do mouth to mouth resuscitation. We are just in a different world," he said.
Collie said each person should be treated as if they have a disease that can be contracted.
Sexual health is extremely important in the present day he said because children learn about sex at an earlier age.
"Years ago we used to say kissing doesn't transmit, now we know that it's not true. It can. You have open sores, you are brushing your teeth, you are flossing . . ." Collie said.
He noted that children in the present day are more informed about sex and teachers have to ponder how to address such matters.
Mary Cooper, district superintendent for western Grand Bahama and Bimini addressing the educators noted that family life and health was made a core subject in the schools because it is extremely important.
"You are as family life teachers shaping their lives for the future and you are giving them those very important and basic skills that they need to face all the challenges that Dr. Colie just spoke about, that they are going to meet along the way," she said.
© 2012 The Freeport News