- 14 August 2014
BIUST, through the office of Student Health Services, is currently running a Human Resource Development Council (former Tertiary Education Council) project called teAIDS project. This is a project that has been developed for all HRDC-supported tertiary institutions in the country. The project came about after the then TEC recognised the importance of not just training Botswana’s human resources at the tertiary level but also ensuring that those trained survive the challenges of the HIV & AIDS pandemic so that the country would reap the benefits of its investment in their training.
A survey was conducted in 2008 among 4 000 tertiary students to find out their knowledge and attitudes to HIV and AIDS. The survey yielded worrisome results. The study found that irrespective of increased knowledge and impact from AIDS deaths within their households and families, sexual practices that give rise to the current HIV epidemic in Botswana persist among tertiary youth. teAIDS recognises the capacity for the entire Education Sector (from pre-primary – lifelong learning) to act as a “Social Vaccine”. The approach of TeAIDS seeks to be strategic, participatory, youth-driven, human resource intensive and sustainable.
TEC approached the National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA) for funding of a more sustainable programme. NACA granted P17 million through the Botswana National AIDS Prevention Support (BNAPS) project to run the teAIDS project. The project would be harmonised with the National Operational Plan (NOP), National Strategic Framework II (NSF II), National SMC Strategy, and the National Modes of Transmission Study. The teAIDS approach was then based on the principles of harm reduction, gendered approach, and using a competitive advantage to be dynamic and respond to emerging needs/issues.
The project focuses on four thematic areas that it would like to address in the institutions; abstinence, correct and consistent condom use (CCC), Safe Male Circumcision (SMC), and Multiple Concurrent Partnerships (MCP). The teAIDS project has the following objectives;
To build necessary support systems and structures to assist tertiary institutions (public and private) in providing campus-based youth friendly health services.
- Creation of Campus Health Centres at TEC supported institutions, and recruit Campus Health Coordinators for the running of the day-to-day activities of the project at the host institution.
- Outreach to institutions to create student-driven annual work plans – for Monitoring & Evaluation.
- Ongoing “intensive” and “sensitive” education, training and outreach
- New strategies for reaching youth for prevention (e.g. “marketing” prevention)
To strengthen the capacity of tertiary institutions to design and implement relevant and quality campus HIV prevention interventions.
- Develop youth friendly HIV prevention messages that are relevant to tertiary students.
- Harness multimedia and other “youth vehicles” to combat HIV.
- Engage students on sensitive issues that relate to HIV: partner satisfaction, relationships, insecurity, confidence, pressures, sexuality, social norms etc. – open up forums to discuss sexual issues openly using discussion forums and peer educators.
- Address Abstinence and Secondary Abstinence in innovative ways
- Stay up-to-date on HIV, prevention strategies and innovative technologies and best practices
To build the capacity of tertiary institutions to address key priorities in HIV and AIDS research, advocacy and sustainability.
- Operationalise the National Research Agenda priorities that apply to the tertiary sector – closing research gaps but also assessing the landscape for new areas of research.
- Empower academics to conduct research in HIV & AIDS at tertiary institutions.
- Collate research within the sector for the National HIV/AIDS/STI/Other Related Infectious Diseases Research Conference (NHASORC)
teAIDS Project at BIUST
The officer responsible for the teAIDS project (the Campus Health Coordinator) at BIUST joined the university in January 2014. She is currently housed under the Student Health Services of the Student Affairs and Campus Life division. Since joining the university, the office has been able to conduct many activities including, but not limited to, commemoration of the Month of Youth Against AIDS (MYAA) in March 2014, a series of information dissemination activities for students, a student discussion forum on behaviours that can spread HIV, as well as HIV testing through the engagement of Tebelopele Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre.