AMAROK/Projects/HIVAIDS Treatment Literacy/Health Literacy Circles

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Curriclum Implementation Approach

Key question: How to incorporate education on HIV/AIDS into literacy learning for poor women in Bangladesh?


  1. Deliver in the form of Health Literacy Study Circles
  2. Train the teachers first, who then go on to replicate the circle with the mothers
  3. Both teachers and mothers become researchers of their community while building their literacy skills


Through Health Literacy Study Circles, the teachers first learn to incorporate health-related examples into their curriculums which are designed to build reading, writing, oral communication, and math skills. Without becoming health experts, the teachers can aim to use this method to help their students (the mothers) apply their literacy skills to health materials and tasks. Amarok helps the teachers realise this aim, and the teachers then go forward and teach the mothers, helping them realise their aim of freedom from bondage and ignorance.

HIV/AIDS can be incorporated into the following two examples of study circles:

  • PART I Health Care Access and Navigation Study Circle
  • PART II Disease Prevention and Screening Study Circle

The first aims to prepare learners to develop skills needed for gaining access to health services and for navigating health care systems, for example, filling out forms, reading signs, and interpreting rights and responsibilities. The second prepares teachers to help their students develop basic skills needed for engaging in disease prevention and screening activities (malaria, cholera, TB, dengue fever, HIV, other tropical infectious diseases). These skills include decision-making, using graphs and charts, calculating percentages, and interpreting risks and probability.

Suggested Approaches

Part I

  1. Use a questionnaire or other preferred methods to gauge learners' knowledge about health issues.
  2. Assess this data to determine needs and areas of focus.
  3. Share with the teachers and develop consensus.
  4. Distribute tasks, offer practice in facilitation and workshop skills, conduct micro-trainings and reflective journalling.
  5. When comfortable, ask teachers to try this out with the mothers.
  6. Observe, monitor, review collectively, keep fine tuning until curriculum is harmonized.
  7. Present to Ministry of Education and Health for comment, input, validation, scaling-up, quality assurance.
  8. Invite teachers to post their curriculum on WikiEducator and teach others around the world.
  9. Publicize the initative across the Commonwealth and beyond.
  • This should take 1-2 years.
  • When process is finished, move on to Part II.
  • Alternatively, if process takes less time than anticipated, consider integrating/weaving Part II into Part I should there be consensus.

Part II

Here is where AMAROK can move into diseases prevention, having first embedded and enculturated mothers about the importance of health, thus building their social capital.

For each disease, do Steps 1-9 and then teach topics like TB, Malaria and HIV/AIDS. You may wish to invite teachers to use Google and libraries to research each of the following topics (this will also build their media literacy and knowledge assessment capabilities)

Topics to consider


  1. What is the disease
    • Methods of transmission
    • Symptoms/physical appearance of an infected person
    • Getting tested: when, how, benefits
    • Risk groups
    • Prevention
  • A source for the trainers and teachers: The Body


  1. Use TB, Malaria, HIV/AIDS statistics in basic math lessons (Ex: rates, percentages, graphs)
  2. Prevalence of TB, Malaria, HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh and in neighboring countries showing the risk posed on Bangladesh
  3. Coverage percentage in Bangladesh
  4. Use of preventive measures

UNAIDS/WHO Epidemiological Fact Sheets on HIV and AIDS in Bangladesh, 2008 Update

Integral Terms/Ideas

  1. Provide facts/information sheet with background knowledge, emphasizing on weak points indicated by the questionnaire, and dismantling indicated misconceptions
  2. Transmission – address true modes of transmission as well as misconceptions.
  3. Mother to infant – draw on maternal instincts, allow participants to relate to the issue
  4. Sharing needles/injecting equipment
  5. Household hygiene and cleanliness
  6. Sexual contact
  7. Risk
  8. Coverage
  9. Prevention – primary health care/safer behaviors
  10. Screening/Testing – emphasize benefits
  11. Protect others from being infected
  12. Ability to reduce risk of infecting infant
  13. Early detection → can take steps to protect long term health
  14. Treatment
    • For HIV, discuss increased risk in women, and most vulnerable groups in Bangladesh, specifically injecting drug users and sex workers


Simulation Activities in health setting

  1. Test retention and comprehension of Integral Terms with a simulation of a doctor’s office or HIV testing clinic.
  2. Practice reading and completing consent forms. Example
  3. Use role playing to practice dialogue between examinee, and staff and consultants. Encourage questions to be asked and answered by participants during the activity, about TB, Malaria, HIV/AIDS, how it can be transmitted, prevented, and treated, in order to reinforce important points from the facts sheet.
  4. Stigma/Discrimination
    • Expose participants to the stigma and discrimination commonly associated with TB, Malaria, Cholera, and especially HIV/AIDS.
    • Equip participants with the knowledge and background to make their own informed judgments.

Reflect on the earlier sequence of activities


Encourage discussion of TB, malaria, dengue, HIV/AIDS and preventive behavior with children or in social circles


Provide a list of the easiest to access TB and HIV testing centers or hospitals and clinics that provide care and consultation services for TB and HIV/AIDS


Through these activities, we hope that participants gain a basic understanding of how diseases like TB, malaria and HIV can be contracted, what precautions they can take to prevent the spread of TB, malaria, HIV, and what resources and treatments are available. We anticipate that they will become comfortable with the topics of TB, malaria, and HIV and AIDS, having discussions about it to spread awareness, and taking action along the lines of public health recommendations.