In the latest step forward in the implementation of Highlands Hope Umbrella efforts to increase awareness and knowledge of HIV and other reproductive health issues among elementary school age children in the Njombe District, McGill nursing student Joyce Ngabire is in Tanzania assessing the short term impact of the presence of trained Youth Peer Health Educators (YPHEs) in two pilot schools in the Njombe area.
These young people were selected by their peers and their teachers and given an intensive training on HIV related issues and how to discuss them with friends and classmates last year in a project coordinated by CHAKUNIMU, a Highlands Hope Umbrella volunteer network of adult peer health educators, with training materials developed by the Umbrella in collaboration with McGill University. It built on research that was undertaken the previous year on youth knowledge and attitudes of HIV that was also a partnered effort between Highlands Hope Umbrella and the Ingram School of Nursing at McGill University.
Joyce is working closely with McGill clinical instructor Betty Liduke while continuing her practical nursing training as part of the clinical team at the TANWAT Care and Treatment Centre (CTC) in Njombe. Betty Liduke is also the Director of the CTC.
CHAKUNIMU has already extended the YPHE project to four other pilot schools and local education authorities, impressed by the early results, have agreed to expand it further to all district primary schools.