Church Call in Africa to Declare an HIV/AIDS State of Emergency
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From the Anglican News Service
More news about this conference is at:
Wednesday, August 22, 2001
Call to declare an HIV/AIDS state of emergency
All governments in Africa are being called on to declare an HIV/AIDS
state of emergency as one of several aspects of a plan developed at
the All Africa Anglican Conference on HIV-Aids in Boksburg this week.
Archbishop of Cape Town Njongonkulu Ndungane, TODAY (Thursday)
presented plans to facilitate a generation without AIDS.
"As in a state of war, all government agencies should be in a state
of alert" he said.
"The issue should not just be domesticated in the health department.
It affects all of us across the board."
Condoms had featured very little during debate but the church
recognised that their use was "the greater good or lesser of two
evils" for people who were unable to be faithful to one partner.
"This is not to encourage promiscuity, not in any way to advertise -
He said the church's calling was for people to abstain from sex or to
"But we realise that we live in a real world with human imperfection.
Our vocation as Anglican Christians is to save souls but we must also
Other responses to recommendations from delegates, laid out in a
planning framework document titled "Our Vision, Our Hope: First Step"
included offering HIV and Aids sufferers pastoral care and
counselling and providing support to orphans of the disease.
"We commit to being central to networks of community support, to meet
the health care and basic needs of those who are orphaned, ill or
excluded due to HIV, freeing them to productive life as long as their
health permits," reads the document.
Other focuses would be on transforming traditions and practices, such
as burials, that consume scarce resources and contribute to denial
about Aids, leadership to stigmatisation and education and training.
"We hope this will enable us to deal with this pandemic once and for
all," said Ndungane.
Along with church representatives from Africa were representatives of
donor communities and pharmaceutical companies and other key
Warren W Buckingham, senior technical adviser on HIV-Aids for the
United States Agency for International Development's Africa Bureau's
Office of Sustainable Development said faith-based parties were often
"the strongest partner at community level" to promote prevention of a
disease like Aids.
Sandra Swan of the Episcopal Relief and Development, also based in
the USA, called the initiative "unique" and an opportunity to create
partnerships and hope.
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