Managing pupils with HIV/AIDS in primary schools in Zimbabwe: A policy issue.

Emmanuel S. Chinamasa, Bethshebah Maponga, Sensiwe Moyo


The purpose of this study was to find ways of helping teachers to manage HIV positive pupils in primary schools. It was motivated by the fact that, teachers have no resources on which to rely for the management of HIV positive pupils in their classrooms. HIV/AIDS campaigns centered on awareness, preventive measures and have nothing on teachers’ care of HIV positive pupils. Teacher education curriculum and the primary school curriculum are silent on the care of HIV positive pupils. The study contributes to the achievement of three, Millennium Development Goals namely: Goal 3, “achieve universal primary education”, Goal 4, “reduce child mortality” and Goal 6, “combat HIV and AIDS”. The study was guided by a descriptive survey. Data were collected from a cluster sample of 91 primary school teachers who completed a self reporting questionnaire. This was complemented by data from Opportunistic Infections clinic documents, teachers’ pupil health records and focus group discussions. The study revealed that, Opportunistic Infections clinic records had 458 cases of pupils who were confirmed HIV positive. Teachers suspected 71 cases and had only 20 cases in their pupil health records. Hence a lot of HIV positive cases are not reported. Some teachers are also not sure as to whose responsibility is it to manage HIV positive pupils in their classrooms. HIV positive pupils are affected by high rates of absenteeism due to illnesses. The school curriculum has no provisions for ill healthy HIV positive pupils. The study recommends marketing of these findings to education policy makers. Further studies can be done in other district to verify findings. Teacher education curriculum can include the management of HIV positive pupils in schools. Workshops on strategies to manage HIV positive pupils in primary schools can be held. Parents can be advised to inform teachers of the HIV status of their children.

Key Words: Primary school, HIV positive pupils, Policy, Managing schools.

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