Promoting HIV prevention in schools
Title: Multisectoral HIV-prevention (MHIVP) in South Africa
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: South Africa
Lead executing agency: National Department of Health of the Republic of South Africa
Overall term: 2021 to 2023
South Africa is one of the countries hardest hit by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In 2021, there were 8.2 million people in South Africa living with HIV. Women are disproportionately affected by the virus: nearly one quarter of all women between the ages of 15 and 49 are HIV positive.
Successful prevention strategies focus directly on the groups at risk, particularly adolescent girls and young women. The school health programme is a starting point where they can be reached.
However, important prerequisites need to be fulfilled in order to implement an integrated school health policy that gets all the responsible parties involved. Effective implementation is hindered by inadequate funding, poor coordination between the competent authorities and a lack of social acceptance on the part of many influential local people and organisations.
The planning, financial and societal foundations have been improved so that the integrated school health policy can be implemented.
The project is working to ensure that the principles and indicators of the Integrated School Health Policy South Africa (ISHP) are being incorporated into national policy and strategy documents. These include the national strategy plan (2023 to 2028) and the service package for school health, which is being redefined.
Project activities also focus on broadening competences at the National Department of Health and relevant line departments so that a cross-departmental plan and budget can be created. Furthermore, the project supports an inter-ministerial budget proposal for implementing the school health policy.
Fostering greater involvement of civil society in order to increase the demand for school health services is also a project aim. To achieve this, it is raising awareness among school councils and parents’ organisations, particularly in the Eastern Cape province. This improves acceptance in the community and clarifies false information and misunderstandings about what school health services entail.
Last update: April 2022