Health science students of Government Secondary School (GSS), Apo resettlement and Health Bridge Initiative, an NGO, on Thursday took to the streets to sensitise Abuja residents to importance of health education.
The students, displaying different placards about various diseases, embarked on sensitisation walk from Apo to the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) in Abuja.
During the sensitisation, they spoke about the effects of those diseases, how they were contracted and the best methods of avoiding them.
They also told the residents about the ones that were vaccine preventable and those that could be avoided by testing early and where they could get free testing for some of them.
Mrs Tamunosiki Onatoyinbo, the Health Science teacher, said it was necessary for children to be active participants in health sensitisation, especially in their communities.
She also said that they could serve as agents of change in that regard.
“Children should be active in creating sensitisation about health education in the community and not just be passive like it has been in the past.
“Let them be active this time and put to practice what they learn in the class,’’ she added.
The Executive Director, Health Bridge Initiative, Dr Sylvia Okoro, said the students volunteered themselves to join the campaign against HIV/AIDS, cervical, prostrate and bowel cancers as well as polio eradication.
According to her, their aim is to create awareness to let the public, especially their peers, to know that free testing is available for some of these diseases and why they should get tested.
“This is also to get women tested for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and to know that the vaccine is free for girls.
“When they get it they get themselves free from cervical cancer and are protected against some genital infections such as warts.”
Okoro said that the NGO was actually transforming lives and leading the change when it comes to healthcare delivery.
“To create value, the value system must start from the secondary schools and the young ones.
“So what they are trying to tell their peers is that irrespective of where they find themselves, they are supposed to create the value that is needed.
“Also, I believe that over 80 per cent of diseases that adults suffer today can be prevented and when we start young and create this value in them, they run with it.
“So we believe that if we start from these young ones we can really get it right in the Nigerian health sector.
“Coming from the HIV background, I can tell you that the new infections that we are seeing today are actually gotten from among the over 45 million young ones in Nigeria.”
She, however, said that the NGO, along with other partners, would continue the campaign to support them to continually create the awareness needed.
Dr James Anenih, the Director, Community Prevention, Care and Services, NACA, while receiving the students, said the focus of the organisation was on the young ones.
He said specifically, the agency’s national response and prevention programmes were geared towards young people.
“We are also in the process of reviewing the Family Life and Health Education Guideline.
He said this would make it easier for people to pick up on what they were tought and also to upgrade it to reflect current trends.
“On Dec. 1, we celebrate World AIDS Day and that is a day that we create a lot of awareness about HIV and testing.
“So we would like to work with you for better awareness and create a testing location in your school.”
Micheal Emmanuel, an SS2 student, said he learnt more about personal hygiene, as some of the students barred their minds about the exercise.
Miss Mariam Jubril, also in SS2, said that she was happy speaking to residents of the community about what was happening in the health space.
She also said that the subject had made her learn a lot about health education.
“I was about to drop the subject but my teacher made me understand that health science is the best.
“You learn things in health science and she has made me proud and bold.” (NAN)
Source: News Agency of Nigeria