The Management of HIV/AIDS and AIDS Prevention in Early Childhood Care, Education and Development(ECCED) Institutions: A Case of Lusaka District

Thumbnail Image
Simfukwe, Evelyn Mudaala
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Early Childhood Care Education and Development (ECCED) is education offered to children below the age seven. In Zambia the provision of this type of education has been left in the hands of the private sector including Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), local communities and religious institutions. However, the Ministry of Education provides professional services to pre-school education by training teachers, developing curriculum, learning and teaching materials and monitoring standards. In September 2004, the Government of Zambia gazetted ECCED to the Ministry of Education. The Ministry has since made ECCED one of the sub-sectors in the Ministry. Strategies for coordination and implementation of ECCED are being developed among them are management of HIV and AIDS in the ECCED programmes and centres. The general purpose of this research was to determine how HIV/AIDS was managed in the centres and how members of staff responded to the HIV and AIDS mitigation strategies in ECCED institutions. Data were collected from selected preschools in Chawama, Chilenje, Chilenje South, Chilenje South Extension, Kanyama and Libala Extension of Lusaka district. A total number of 69 respondents were interviewed from the institutions visited. The respondents included administrators, Project Coordinators, Head teachers, teachers in charge and Pre-school teachers. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. Questionnaire and interviews were administered in the selected centres. The coded data were double entered in a built data entry sheet in the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) 13.0 to ensure range checks. The same package was used for data processing, analysis and manipulation to produce graphic presentations.The research showed that ECCED institutions were run by the Government,Private Companies, Individuals or Faith Based Organizations. Those institutions run by Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), were under the Catholic Church, Pentecostal Rock of Salvation Ministries and the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA).Considering that staff in ECCED institutions handled very young children who may be HIV and AIDS infected or affected, training in HIV and AIDS should be compulsory. There was need for a programme for parents/guardians of children in ECCED institutions to get counselled on HIV and AIDS to enhance their understanding of the operations of such institutions. ECCED institutions should be provided with HIV and AIDS Information Education Communications (IEC) materials like brochures, flyers and wall charts. The members of staff that accessed these materials were those that had opportunity to attend workshops, seminars and training on HIV and AIDS.The findings of the study include the following: HIV and AIDS pandemic have impacted the country negatively. The ECCED has been left out in the programmes and implementation of activities aimed at mitigating the spread of HIV and AIDS. The Ministry of Education has developed training manuals and other materials on HIV and AIDS, but none of the visited ECCED institutions had such materials. Some members of staff participated in HIV and AIDS activities and accessed information through programmes organised by different organisations and the media especially the radio and television, but not the Ministry of Education Condom distribution was not conducted in ECCED centres as it was perceived to be morally wrong to distribute condoms in institutions where there were children below 7 years. In terms of participation in HIV and AIDS activities only 4 out of 13 institutions had some form of participation in HIV and AIDS activities. This showed that ECCED institutions had little participation in HIV and AIDS activities and had no access to funds for HIV and AIDS programmes. This was evident from the members of staff who stated that despite knowing some organisations that fund HIV and AIDS activities they had not requested for support from these organisations.Generally more than 50% of the respondents in this survey said that they had been involved in some HIV and AIDS activities.
HIV/AIDS-Prevention , HIV/AIDS-Child Care