The National HIV and AIDS Secretariat (NAS) and its partners have condemned the mandatory HIV testing for pupils of the Providence International High School purportedly by the Proprietor of the School. In a press release “NAS and its partners received frantic calls from parents of children who were subjected to compulsory HIV testing on diverse date in 2019 and 2020. Parents explained that a certain proprietor of a private school in Freetown (Providence International High School) designed a form and compulsory solicited HIV testing for it’s pupils contrary to the Act.” Over eight organisations came together along with the Network of HIV Positive in Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Health, UNAIDS, Legal Aid Board and UNICEF amongst others in a press conference on Friday 31st January 2020, at the NAS office, Bellair Compound to broadly condemn the act of the principal of the school. According to the Director General of NAS Abdulrahman Sesay “NAS and it partners are mindful of the obligation of the Government of Sierra Leone to the UN and the International Convention and Protocols on the Right of the Child to which Sierra Leone is a signatory. We implore the public to report all such matters to relevant Government authorities and the Police, for necessary action to be taken whenever they are privy to such information.”
Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
He said the issue is under investigation and urged the Sierra Leone Police to accelerate the probing and prosecution of the school proprietors, authorities and medical testing laboratories. He added that such matter will affect the lives and work of people living with HIV and their families, health care workers, the International community donors and the effort put in place by the Government of Sierra Leone to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 in Sierra Leone. The release States that “NAS and NACP and its partners reminds stakeholders and the general public that HIV testing in Sierra Leone is voluntary, confidential and free as stipulated in the 2011 National HIV and AIDS Act of the Republic of Sierra Leone.” According to the 2011 Act no person shall compel another person to undergo an HIV test, as a precondition for and the enjoyment of employment, marriage, admission into any educational institutions, entry into or travel out of the country or the provision of healthcare, insurance cover or any other services. The Director said they are fully committed to see the end of such a dreadful act.
By Mohamed J. Bah
Login or Subscribe to read the entire article