The Health Promotion Directorate, with the support of the Social Mobilisation and Support Branch, will be providing an Integrated Care and Support Programme activation in ten schools in the Pixley Ka Seme District, Northern Cape Province, during the month of September 2017. The recently adopted Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) Framework supports the National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB and the HIV and AIDS Life Skills Education Programme with the aim to raise awareness on the barriers that negatively affect access, retention and performance of learners in schools; Provide opportunities for vulnerable learners to have access to a range of public health and poverty reduction interventions; Conduct advocacy on the National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB; and Provide learners with access to comprehensive health services, including sexual reproductive health services. Early intervention in addressing health barriers to learning will enhance the development of children, resulting in educational gains.
An assessment of the vulnerable children in these ten schools is currently being done and this assessment will include the identification of those learners who do not have school uniforms and identity documents. The Programme, which will commence on 04 September 2017, will include parent dialogues on the National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB and Educators’ support in the form of health screening, debt counselling, psychosocial support and counselling. A Learner Focus week will also be taking place from 18 to 22 September 2017 with the Integrated School Health Programme Week taking place in all schools from 25 to 28 September 2017. This will include sexual and reproductive health education services to secondary and intermediate schools. The month’s activities will culminate on 28 September 2017 on Integrated Service Delivery Day. This event will take place at Umso Secondary School in the Northern Cape Province to officially launch the National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB in the Province. The following services will also be provided to learners on the day: the donation of school uniforms to learners identified by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), registration of birth certificates and ID documents, the registration of child support grants, as well as the provision of integrated school health services.
The remaining eight Provincial Education Departments will also be conducting similar programmes throughout the month of September 2017, with the culmination of activities into provincial launch events of the National Policy on HIV, STIs and TB in each respective province to encourage provincial officials, teachers, learners and parents to take ownership of the policy in order to ensure the successful implementation thereof.