School-based sexuality education: UNESCO releases new data on cost and cost- effectiveness of sexuality education programmes
The results of a six-country study on the cost and cost-effectiveness of school-based sexuality education programmes were released by UNESCO in New York on 27 April 2011 at a meeting of the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on Education.
This seminal study, the first of its kind, looks at a range of programmes across low-, middle- and high-income countries, including Estonia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, the Netherlands and Nigeria. Though programmes vary widely in terms of design and scale, it is clear that integrated mandatory programmes are more efficient, as are those adapted from existing models. The costs per learner receiving the curriculum in scaled-up, well established programmes range from US$ 6.90 in Nigeria to US$ 32.80 in the Netherlands. Smaller pilot programmes in Kenya and Indonesia indicate significantly higher costs.
The study highlights the cost-effectiveness, and potential cost savings in a context like Estonia, where a national sexuality education programme was rolled out alongside youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services. Between 2001 and 2009, an estimated 13,490 health events were averted, including 1,970 HIV infections, at a potential lifetime cost of US$67, 825 per patient.
‘We now have the data and analysis to make a stronger and better informed case for investing in school-based sexuality education programmes, particularly in those countries most affected by the epidemic and prioritized for attention in the new UNAIDS Strategy 2011-2015. This landmark study gives an economic basis to our belief in sexuality education as a key platform for HIV prevention amongst children and young people in the years to come’, says Mark Richmond, UNESCO’s Global Coordinator for HIV and AIDS.
The full report is scheduled for release in late May 2011. An executive summary of the report will be made available beforehand.
For more information contact: aids(at)unesco.org