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Significant Number of Teachers Dying of AIDS-Related Complications in Namibia

October 24, 2006

The Namibian education system since last year has lost a significant number of teachers to AIDS-related illnesses, and more deaths among teachers are expected within the next few years, participants at a Namibia National Teachers Organization meeting said last week, the New Era/AllAfrica.com reports. The meeting was convened to discuss the effect of HIV/AIDS on the country's education system. HIV/AIDS fuels teacher absenteeism, which leads to a decline in productivity, NTO Secretary-General Basilius Haingura said, adding that the disease is claiming the lives of irreplaceable skilled educators. The disease also impedes the country's goals in the area of education, the New Era/AllAfrica.com reports. According to the Ministry of Basic Education, Sport and Culture, roughly 550 teachers annually will die of AIDS-related complications by 2011, Haingura said. He added that education is the country's largest source of employment, with a workforce of 20,000, including 18,000 teachers (Philander, New Era/AllAfrica.com, 10/20).

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