Higher Education Response to HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Ethiopia: Rhetoric, Reality, Challenges and the Way Forward


  • Abebe Haile Gabriel The paper is part of a research undertaking under


Higher education response to HIV/AIDS has been found to be below expectations. Lack of policy and/or strategic plan of actions to combat the pandemic and absence of dedicated HIV/AIDS units to coordinate activities characterise the scene. Since planning for HIV/AIDS is the exception rather than the rule, there was no place for monitoring and evaluation. The magnitude of the problem and its impacts is unknown; hence little knowledge exists to guide informed actions. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that HIV/AIDS has been impacting in many ways. Workplace interventions as well as organised staff response are non-existent. Almost everywhere there are student-based efforts; however, in the absence of institutional support these efforts have largely been dependent on external resources that render the activities to be piecemeal. With the exception of health/medical faculties, there is no attempt to integrate HIV/AIDS issues into the curriculum. Similarly, efforts to train staff to appropriately handle HIV/AIDS related subjects are very rare. HIV/AIDS related research is isolated, accidental and externally induced; individual staff research and consultancy involvement dominate the scene rather than institutional, organized research undertaking. No other robust variable can better explain such inaction than inadequate or virtual absence of leadership, ownership, and commitment at all levels