Health minister impressed with Gambian student
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare has hailed Haddijatou Cham, a 23-year-old Gambian student based in the USA for completing a three-month pilot testing on HIV prevention intervention for young female youths in The Gambia.
Cham, who is currently pursuing a masters degree programme in public health and a certificate in global health at the University of Michigan in the USA, recently conducted the exercise at the Brikama Health Centre and used her personal stipend and the little resources gathered to conduct the pilot testing.
Minister Badjie noted that Cham was close to the young people during the course of the study. She said the study is very useful to her Ministry and will be expanded to Faji Kunda Health Centre. She thanked Cham and the public health officers who worked with her during the course of the testing. She urged people to emulate Cham, pointing out that she could have used her holiday for other things but because of the passion for health and love for her country, decided to embark on a useful exercise.
Speaking during an information sharing meeting on the survey with the health officials at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Conference hall, Cham said Imaginations is a non-profit organisation based in the United States and conducts health and education initiatives in developing countries. She said they have projects in Peru, India, Thailand and other countries but are looking to start a programme in Africa. “This is the main reason why I suggested to them to do a programme in The Gambia,” she added.
She explained that the Evidence Based HIV Intervention known as BART was developed in the United States and adopted for use in The Gambia. She said the intervention, which targets female youths in Brikama area, started in May and ends in August 2012. “BART is a risk reduction programme that strives to reduce risky sexual behaviours such as early debut, unprotected sex and partner concurrency and promote safer sex skills among 14-18 years old African American youth in the US,” she further explained.
Cham said through BART, youths learn to clarify their own values about sexual decisions and provide them with the opportunity to develop and practice HIV prevention behavioural skills, assertive communication, condom negotiation and proper condom use, all skills to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV among youths.
that a mixed methods evaluation consisting of both quantitative and qualitative
methods were used to assess the effectiveness of BART intervention adding that
the quantitative methods consisting of pre and post-test surveys were used to
measure outcomes objectives of the pilot testing the intervention.
She also revealed that the pilot testing intervention on HIV prevention was conducted by herself, Kyasha- Moore together with the Public Health officers at Brikama Health Centre. She thanked the Ministry of Health for the support they have given her and the young people who participated during the course of the exercise.
Author: Momodou Faal