The weeklong dissemination meeting currently underway at KMC hall in Buffer Zone, is under the project titled -Strengthening Access to Quality Comprehensive Health Education in The Gambia. It is an implementation research project done by Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and funded by International Development Research Center (IDRC), Canada.
The forum brought together different stakeholders from different communities across the municipality such as religious leaders, councillors, representatives from Society for the Study of Women’s Health (SSWH), Population Development Advocacy Group (PDAG), Curriculum Research, Evaluation and Development Directorate (CREDD) of Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) and people from different communities across KMC among others.
In his presentation on the comprehensive health education, Dr Mat Lowe said some challenges affecting implementation of the CHE for adolescents in and out-of-school was discovered during the research.
Among other related challenges, he pointed out, are limited stakeholder participation in curriculum development; inadequate adaption and monitoring and supervision of existing frameworks on comprehensive health education and limited teacher trainings on sexual and reproductive health issues.
Dr Lowe added that reproductive health issues were perceived as major challenges to implementing comprehensive health education for adolescents in school.
Karamo Ceesay, Councillor of Tallinding Ward encouraged participants to share the knowledge and information gathered with their various communities for people to be able to know what comprehensive health education is.
“If you check recently there are lots of issues of early marriages, teenage pregnancies most especially among the school going children, but with support from MoBSE and its research team, there is belief that the issues will reduce to zero level in KMC,” Ceesay assured.
Momodou Drammeh, Councillor of Dippakunda Ward II, and a participant, dilated on the importance of the initiative, while applauding the team of investigators for a job well done taking into consideration the importance surrounding child/children awareness especially female children.
Responding to questions by participants, Mrs Phebian Ina Grant-Sagnia, Principal Investigator of the Project for Strengthening Access to Quality Comprehensive Health Education for in-and-out of School Adolescents in Region I, who is also a Principal Health Researcher, Ministry of Health outlined the expected outcome of the meetings in The Gambia.
According to her, among the expected outcome are identification of the challenges to implement a comprehensive health education and institutionalisation of relevant school and community-based programs that can be used to strengthen access to quality comprehensive health education, information, and services for both in and out of school adolescents.
The interactive forum in KMC will end Friday, 5th March, 2021.