Conference seeks African solution to AIDS

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- Deputy President Jacob Zuma on Monday lamented that the stigma attached to AIDS had resulted in horrific forms of discrimination and violence including rejection, ridicule and death, for HIV infected individuals and people with AIDS related aliments.
He told the All-Africa Anglican Conference in Boksburg that many families and relatives had suffered untold pain and discrimination because of AIDS.
Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, who opened the conference, said the initiative to find an African solution to the pandemic has attracted international support.
Some 130 delegates representing 34 countries aside from the Archbishops of Congo and Ghana as well as bishops from Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan, Burundi and South Africa are attending the conference.
"We have an alarming tendency to be dazzled by statistics and a great need to put a human face to the people who are infected and affected by AIDS.
Our God-given responsibility as stewards of His creation is to care for the well being of our fellow humans.
The greatest contribution each of us can make in life is to make a difference in another persons life," Ndungane said.
Representatives of the African churches plan to put together the beginnings of a strategy and action plan to beat HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Simultaneously a group of partners representing 36 organizations, including donors, organizations involved HIV/AIDS work and pharmaceutical companies, will be meeting to find ways how affected parties can affect change.
The conference aims to change despair into hope by giving Africans the opportunity to create a uniquely African solution to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Delegates will be equipped to return to their diocese throughout the continent armed with the ability to evaluate the situation in their region or parish.
They will also have the skills to initiate programmes that address education, counselling, home based care and grief management "because no-one should die alone and no-one should care alone".
"If one considers the ability of churches to reach deep into communities and to adopt a hands-on approach to the pandemic, there is little doubt that our commitment can and must impact on all Africa and, indeed the whole world.
We know this is not going to be an easy task.
In many instances, we are going to have to cut across tradition and culture in terms of issues such as sex education for our young people and burial customs that take up too much land and place poverty stricken families in a permanent debt cycle," Ndungane added.

14 august 2001 22:21:00

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