By Olimatou Coker
The Comprehensive Health Education (CHE) project under the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education recently engaged 40 journalists on its research findings conducted in 43 schools and 28 communities in Region 1. The event was held at NaNA.
The day’s forum was aimed at disseminating the research findings to all stakeholders.
The research project funded by the International Development Research Center (IDRC), seeks to strengthen access to quality for in and out of school adolescents in the Gambia.
The overall aim of this study is to look into the obstacles to implementation of comprehensive health education (CHE).
According to officials, the information generated will be used to design and implement relevant school and community-based programs that will be implemented in Western Region 1, of Kanifing Municipal Council, which has a large population of children and adolescents.
Phililan Ina Grant Sagina, principal investigator of CHE, said the overall aim of the program is to strengthen access to quality comprehensive health education, information and services, among out of school adolescents and to improve the knowledge of more stakeholders.
“In The Gambia, while there are policy frameworks regarding comprehensive health education, there is limited evidence of implementation. Also, very little is known about how efforts related to comprehensive health education are coordinated across various partners.”
She also said the study will be in four different phases. In phase 1, a simple random survey with in school adolescents aged (10-19 years), stratified by age and sex from selected public and private schools in Western Region 1, of Kanifing Municipality and focus group discussions with 40 out of school adolescents and 35 key informant interviews of school principals and teachers, curriculum developers and program implementers, staffs of youth organizations and NGOs, and religious and traditional leaders, will be used to collect quantitative and qualitative data. In phase 2, the quantitative and qualitative data collected will be analyzed and used to support the design and implementation of school and community-based programs. In phase 3, an assessment into the effect of the implementation of the school and community-based programs will be conducted. Finally, in phase 3, the lessons learned from the implementation of the school and community-based programs will be used to identify the relevant factors to consider in ensuring effective coordination of comprehensive health education across various partners and in sustaining and scaling up of the school and community-based programs to other Gambian regions.
While noting that the expected outcomes of this study will be the identification of challenges to implementation of comprehensive health education and the institutionalization 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 study also expects to result in more effective and efficient coordination of comprehensive health education across various partners.”
Micheal Hamdi Secka, the Curriculum Officer at MoBSE, highlighted the program’s assessment of interventions on access to information and utilization of available sexual and reproductive health services.
Mr. Secka also advised the participants to make best use of the opportunity.