Though the Ghana Education Service has a policy to retain its HIV/AIDS positive staff only 120 of such employees across the nation have joined the Network of Teachers and Educational Workers on HIV/AIDS Ghana (NETEWAG).
Mr Haruna Ibn Hassan, an Executive Member NETEWAG, said the official disclosure rate was very low and blamed the situation on the discrimination and stigmatization that such persons face.
He was speaking at a two-day workshop for NETWAG members at Dodowa in the Shai Osu-Doku District of the Greater Accra Region.
The workshop, therefore, brought together stakeholders in the HIV/AIDS advocacy to brainstorm and draw a strategic plan for the development of NETEWAG and to reduce the stigma and discrimination.
The workshop is also to empower them to push for the implementation of HIV/AIDS policies in the sector.
The Partnership for Child Development (PCD), an organization under the Imperial College of London, is organising the workshop with the Ministry of Education.
Mrs Gertrude O. Ananse-Baiden, Ghana Programmes Manager of Partnership for Child Development, said evidence globally shows that HIV/AIDS is a real treat to the educational sector and thus to human resource development.
She said teachers’ participation become compromised when they become HIV/AIDS positive due to frequent absenteeism from sicknesses and other related complications, including stigma and discrimination.
Mrs Ananse-Baiden said the related absenteeism affect educational outcomes because children do not gain the full benefit from their school years.
She commended the Government, the Ministry of Education, and other partners for supporting HIV/AIDS positive teachers and for giving them a platform to promote their interests.
Mr Benjamin Afful, Director of Finance and Administration at the Ministry of Education, who represented the Chief Director, said despite the significant strides that had been made globally in the fight against HIV/AIDS, especially in the reduction of new infections, the disease continues to threaten sustainable global human development.
He said this had impeded the progress towards the achievement of the global goal of for education for all.
Mr Afful said reducing HIV infections and improving the health of those affected was a prerequisite for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals Two and Three, which seek to achieve Universal Primary Education and to promote Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, respectively by 2015.